My father-in-law lost his fight to cancer recently. And while getting through the final month was difficult for our entire family, we especially noticed new behavioral issues with the kids. The seven and nine-year-old fought with us constantly, exploding in anger. They had trouble focusing. And we often had to tell them five or six times to do ONE thing.
We tried everything. We took away screen time. We incorporated rewards. We doled out praise every moment we could. And yet nothing worked.
Finally, one night, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time we did something fun as a family. Our lives had been so heavy and focused that we had little room for lightheartedness and play. Perhaps our kids had noticed too?
From that moment forward, my husband and I made a commitment to tickle, play, and bring back family movie night. Within days, we noticed a change in the kids. While a few occasional problems persisted, they were suddenly 80% back to normal. The transformation was quite shocking really.
So, if you’re looking for motivation to increase your own family time, here are 5 benefits to spending more time together. Don’t just take my word for it!
(See this post: for specific bonding activities your family will love!)
Bonding Makes Us Happy
A long Harvard study found that the quality of our relationships determines our overall happiness in life. So, it makes sense that the more undistracted time we spend with family, the happier we will be overall.
It Teaches Problem Solving
Any parent knows that not all family time is peaceful. In fact, spending time together usually has conflict to it. While this can be tough in the moment, it gives kids real world lessons on how to resolve conflict and get along with others. If you can get along with your siblings, you can get along with anyone!
It Gives an Outlet
Having family you can talk to is perfect for pent-up emotions and stress. Specific, planned time together gives everyone an outlet to vent or express themselves and feel they are heard.
Fewer Behavioral Problems
Studies show that kids who spend more time with their parents tend to have fewer behavioral problems and issues with substance abuse and violence. Most likely, this is due to modeling from parents, an outlet to express themselves, and the feeling of being loved and cared for that comes from family time together.
Healthier, Longer Life
Finally, that Harvard study also reveals that those with strong relationships live a longer and healthier life. Not only do the relationships themselves help you live longer, but the time with family is usually spent eating home-cooked meals instead of take-out or convenience foods, and engaging in physical activity together such as walking, bike riding, or sports.
There you have it! I hope my story inspires others to put family time first in their priorities. In our family, we learned an important lesson. Fun and playfulness have a permanent spot in our week if we want to experience calm, happiness, and adventure in our lives.
What about you? What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing together? Consider one of these this week:
- Family dinner
- A family walk
- Game night
- Movie night
- Tickle fight
- Pillow fight
- Practicing a sport together
- Dancing to Disney music while picking up the house
- Making up a silly story together in the car
They are all easy to do and yield the amazing benefits listed above. Now, what are you waiting for!
“Having a place to go is a home. Having someone to love is a family. Having both is a blessing.”– Donna Hedges