Busy schedules at work, school, and extracurricular activities make it difficult for parents and children to find the time to be together. Setting aside time to spend on family activities is important for your children.
Family interaction is integral to creating strong, supportive relationships that will last over time.
- Play board games, cards, and sports. Emphasize playing “for fun” and respond to mistakes or losing with “it’s just a game” — spending time together is what’s important.
- Participate in child-led imaginative and role playing games. Act out stories in person or with toys.
- Have regular activities such as going on a picnic, baking, or going to a ball game. Combine or alternate family members’ favorite activities.
- Explore nature. Walk along beaches or rivers and collect shells or stones. Hike in local parks. Go on a backyard scavenger hunt.
- Have the family cook meals together. Children can be given simpler tasks like stirring and adding ingredients.
- Use errands as catching up time.
- Draw or read books together while waiting at appointments.
- Play car games or sing songs while waiting in traffic.
- Create or continue shared traditions. These can be major annual events, such as holidays or special trips, or more frequent events, such as pancake breakfasts or evening walks.
Family togetherness is an important part of developing deep, positive relationships with each other. Participating in everyday simple activities together is an easy way to start spending more time with each other. Remember that any amount of time counts, be it one whole day during the week or 30 minutes every day.
Adapted and excerpted from:
M. Ferrer, A. Fugate, and I. Rivera, Being Involved with Your School-Age Child (FCS2004), UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (Archived).