Sure the snow is still falling here in Western New York but it is still not too early to think about summer and family activities. If you also read the title of this post with a strong sense of doubt, you are not alone. Just getting kids to school, extracurricular activities and social engagements, getting homework done and getting them to eat something healthy while you clean the house, do the laundry and deal with your own career may be so time consuming that you just don’t see where you can possibly find the time for more family time.
Statistics show that spending even a small amount of family time together can make a huge difference to your student’s happiness, their level of social adjustment and even their academic performance. From Tutor Doctor’s blog on the importance of family meals:
19% of teens who do not share at least three family meals together a week report stressed relationships between family members compared to 7% who do enjoy family meals.
More meals at home result in higher performance scores and fewer behavioral problems.
Students who enjoy family meals are more informed about good eating habits and are less likely to suffer from obesity.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at the University of Columbia found that students who eat meals with their families are less likely to drink, smoke or use drugs. Read the full article here.
If spending only an hour together three times a week can make such a huge difference to your student’s life and to the coherence of the family unit, then its worth the effort.
Every month, set a new goal for your family to spend time together. You can start small like a five minute chat to see what everyone has been up to before bed or dinner three times a week. These goals can be added to as you make family time a priority. You can expand your repertoire to include things like a family movie night, a game night or a weekend away.
Family time should mean that each member of the family gets to talk or participate equally and that their input is important. This will help you to keep in touch with your students while they learn to get along well together. Making family time a priority will help everyone to make time for it and it also sends the message that the family is more important than anything else.
The best way to make a little extra time is to make a routine that works for you. This means that you set in place routines and chores so that everyone knows what they are doing and when they are doing it. Sharing responsibilities will help you to save time. Routines also establish family time timeslots and these are sacred and should be respected by everyone.
Setting out a little time to spend together will have you all getting along better and helping each other out more. As your family enjoys spending time together, they will find it easier to make the time available to hang out with you.
P.S. Remember that there tends to be a significant drop in a child’s Math and Language skills over the summer if there is no dedicated effort to maintain and grow what they learned over the school year.