family walking with a toki mats play mat on the beach

The Importance of Family Time

January 8, 2024

Life with kids can be something of a whirlwind. No matter what your family dynamic looks like (two working parents, a stay-at-home parent, a single parent, etc.), there’s little free time to be had for anyone during the week when there are mouths to feed, household chores to be done, and little ones to look after. As a busy parent, you may find yourself saying, “Not right now” more often than you’d like when your kids ask you to play with them or take them to the park. Like most parents, you’re also probably an expert at multitasking, trying to check things off your to-do list even as you entertain your little ones. Juggling everything can feel impossible at times, but prioritizing family time will always be the right choice. When it comes to spending time as a family, quality matters far more than quantity. Setting aside even just a few minutes of undivided attention at the end of each day can go a long way in strengthening your bond as a family.

Studies have shown that children who spend time with their family have less risk of behavioral issues, such as violence and substance abuse. They tend to do better in school, have healthier communication skills, and are more likely to flourish later in life. The benefits of family connection aren’t just about surviving or avoiding harm–they’re associated with thriving. When kids spend plenty of time with their families, they feel accepted and nurtured at home, which builds their confidence and self-esteem. If children experience healthy trusting relationships early in their lives, they’re more likely to establish healthy trusting relationships as adults.

And, family time isn’t just beneficial for your kids—it’s also beneficial for you. Parenting, of course, is never without stress. It’s completely normal to feel overstimulated and frazzled after being around your little ones all day, but when you carve out time in your day to give them meaningful, undivided attention, you may find them calmer and less frustrated because they don’t have to compete with whatever task is at hand to feel heard. In turn, you’ll find the time spent together more enjoyable as well. We know life gets busy, so here are a few easy ways to spend quality time together as a family:

a mom walking with her daughter on the beach and carrying a toki mats play mat

Get down on the floor

If you have a young baby, it may feel impossible at times to engage with your older children in a meaningful way. Most of the time, you might be shushing them to not wake the baby, or telling them to wait until you’re done feeding, changing, bathing, or playing with the baby. Instead, use your baby’s play time as an opportunity for the whole family to get involved! A large, cushy play mat like this one makes it easy for everyone to comfortably stay on the floor while baby does tummy time or works on other motor skills. You can make play time a family activity by having your kids stack blocks and letting the baby knock them over, or vice versa!

Go for a walk

Spending quality time as a family can be as simple as going on a short walk outside. If everyone generally has the most down time in the evening, establishing a daily time, like after dinner, to take a walk can be a healthy routine that’s not just great for physical health, but also great for mental health and bonding as a family. It allows for conversation, where you can ask your kids about their day, or you can make a game of it by preparing an easy scavenger hunt (there are plenty of free printables online)!

Have an indoor picnic

While a picnic at the park is a lovely way to spend a weekend afternoon together as a family, the logistics of packing the food, loading the car, and getting everyone out the door can be a huge hassle that takes more time than the actual picnic. Depending on how old your kids are, staying at home might be the easier choice. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun! Spread a picnic blanket right on your living room floor (bonus points if it’s water-repellant like this one for easy cleanup), and let everyone eat! Shared mealtimes are incredibly important for family togetherness, but trying to keep young kids in their chairs can be a struggle. Taking your meal on the floor can add excitement during the week and be a fun way to connect as a family.

Play, play, play

Play is essential to a child’s healthy development and you are your child’s first teacher. When you play with your little ones, you build up their self-esteem, you teach them important things about how the world works, and you help them learn lifelong skills. Although playing with peers and siblings teaches them these things too, playing with parents offers a more mature, guided approach with valuable teachings. Whenever possible, play with your little ones as a family to strengthen your bond, build their self-esteem, and teach them teamwork and cooperation.

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The Importance of Family Time

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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