Almost every parenting blog, book, sermon, lecture, and pamphlet have at least one mention concerning the importance of spending time with your children. Yet, I find that all the recommendations are like the dietary requirements I am supposed to follow. If I really drank all the water I am supposed to, consumed the correct number of vegetable servings, grain servings, fruit servings, all while consuming no more than a certain amount of calories . . . well you get the point. If I spent all the time that the experts tell me to spend, then what else will I do and how can I squeeze 32 hours into a 24 hour day. I do not know about you, but I live in “the real world” where we work outside the home to make ends meet, we have schooling, after-school activities, homework, home repairs, car repairs, church activities, and other social, educational, and spiritual obligations.
How can I get more time out of the day to spend with family? I recently found eight suggestions that I think will help.
- Prioritize! I will say it again, “prioritize.” We will do what we want to do and what we see as a priority. Make family time a priority.
- Keep a check on how much you and your family members involve themselves in “organized” activity. If you are spending too much time on the ball field, with scouts, gymnastics, music, etc. then see #1.
- Control your work schedule. I know that employers make demands on our time and service-oriented jobs and “on-call” situations may not have a regular schedule and may interrupt evenings, but learn to say, “no” or ask, “can this wait an hour / or a day?”
- Learn what each person would like to do for leisure time and plan accordingly.
- Commit to regular family time (see # 1).
- You do not have to do EVERYTHING together as a family, but do SOMETHINGS together.
- Be prepared to meet resistance from employer(s), other family members, and friends.
- Slow down and live life. Have I mentioned the importance of our point # 1?