Here are some ideas that can make spending time with your family simple, meaningful and a part of your daily life.
Create Time for Your Kids
Spending time with younger children is easy because they so often want to be as much a part of our lives as possible!
Make it a point to leave work or schedule work for later in the evening so that you can make it home in time to sit down to dinner together. Eating dinner as a family allows you to be a part of their daily conversations and to answer any questions they may have come across during the day when you were apart.
Fix Things Together
Is the kitchen sink broken? Do you need to paint the study room wall? Children love to help fix things. To us, it may seem like a mundane task, but to most kids, it’s a wonderful chance to see what’s under the kitchen sink, to understand how a faucet works and just to cover an entire wall in paint. Fixing things together allows you to plan for the project and also gives you lots of time to interact.
After Dinner Walks
If you’ve already made time to have dinner with your kids, why not spend another 30 minutes going on a walk with them after dinner? In Singapore, this is the coolest and most pleasant time of the day. Once the table is cleared and the dishes are washed, go for a walk around your neighbourhood. Talk about the changes you see and what your children observe around them as you go on these walks. The act of walking whilst you talk may actually make it easier for children to bring up difficult topics or problems they face because they have something else (like walking) to focus on when they bring these subjects up.
Leave a Message
Children love surprises, so if you don’t have the time to see them in the morning before you leave for work, leave a short video or note for them to find. They will be thrilled to get a message from you and you will have had a chance to show that you are sorry you couldn’t spend the morning with them, but that you value it so much that you made an effort to leave them a surprise note or message.
Reading to your children or even companionably reading books together for half an hour each night are a great way to spend time together. Choosing books to read and discussing them are ways to share ideas and values with your children.
Bring Your Child to School or Class
Make it a point to bring your child to school or to any extra classes they may have. Doing this regularly allows you to spend more time together. Make travel time, together time!
Share Family Stories
Find time to share stories about your family’s history. Dig out your old photo albums and look through them with your children. Add new pictures to the family collection together and make this a regular activity.
Connect with Your Teenagers
As your children grow into their teenage years, spending time together becomes even more important, and at the same time, difficult. It takes a little more effort, but finding daily time for your teenagers is possible.
Conversations with Your Teen
Take the opportunity to talk to your teenager whilst you are travelling together. Whether you are travelling with your teenager on the bus, train or in the car, there usually isn’t much else to do except talk. So seize the chance and get your teenager to open up and share more with you about their lives!
Teenagers are inspired to volunteer and to make a difference in the world around them. Find a cause which you both identify with and sign up together. Attend regularly, volunteer and find time for each other too.
Step into Your Teen’s World
Participate in an activity they are passionate about. Whether it happens to be cosplay or basketball or building model airplanes, talk to your teen about it. Find out if there is a way for you to be a part of it, or if that’s not possible, then listen to them and learn about it from them so you can talk about it and understand why they are so excited about their chosen activity.
Chat with Your Teen
Connect with your teen through chat functions on your phone. Even though they may not necessarily want to add you on social media, sending regular short, encouraging chat messages can keep you in touch with your teen just as effectively.
Get to Know Your Teen’s Friends
Teenagers are discovering the social world beyond their immediate family. They spend a lot of time with their friends, finding out who they are as individuals and learning how to socialise beyond the family. Try opening up your home and welcome your teen’s friends to get to know them better.
Spend Time Each Day with Your Teen
Even if it is only 5 minutes a day, find a time which you can spend with your teen. Maybe you want to be around when they come home to say hello and to ask them how their day went. Or perhaps you make it a point to spend 5 minutes talking to them just before they go to bed and you wish each other goodnight. Find a way to have a specific and dedicated time each day for a short conversation. This way, if they ever feel that they need to speak with you about something important, they know that there is this time in the day when you will definitely be there for them.