Did you know that children are overworked today? Chances are you didn’t. According to a University of Michigan study, children have lost twelve hours a week worth of free time since the late 1970’s. In those late 70’s, children spent a lot of time doing a lot of nothing, they played and listened to good moral character building stories from the elders in the family, today children are missing those moments.
If you’re a parent who believes your child will benefit from more free time with friends, family and yourself then here are some tips to lighten your load.
Listen to Your Children!
A lot of parents don’t listen to their children and there’s a fine line between doing what’s best for a child and listening to a child’s voiced needs.
“I don’t wanna go”, “I wanna go to my friends house”, I wanna go swimming”, “I wanna go to the library” or “I just wanna play (an activity)”.
Children do tell us what they need. Some children find themselves wrapped up in sports or other school related activities that still require heavy commitment throughout the year. Watch out for headaches or anxiety, signs that are telltale signs your child is handling too much.
Make Time for a Family Dinner
It doesn’t matter what you cook Ã¢Â?Â¦ just eat together! Studies have shown that children that eat with family members on a regular basis tend to do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems.
Even if dinner isn’t possible until nine at night, give everyone a snack and eat when everyone is home. Talk about the events of the day, school projects, or make vacation plans. Families that eat together know how to have fun together, so do it.
Think Twice Before Saying “Yes” and Only Once to Say “No”
Especially if your family tends to be the first to sign up for almost any (school/community/church/work/neighborhood) event, beware. Consider the real impact of taking on something extra. Think of every member of the family, their current obligations and how this new event will fit.
If you see any confusion beforehand, just say ‘No’.
So many people don’t use reason when considering. Someone will always say, “It’s only for two hours every Monday and Wednesday”. When you already have four other places to be every Monday and Wednesday, it’s not quite so easy!
Plan Some Free Time
Turn off the phone, turn off the tube, and Ã¢Â?Â¦
Ã?Â·Set up the tent in the backyard and plan a night of freaky ghost telling complete with flashlights.
Ã?Â·Give your kids some mason jars at dusk to catch some fireflies.
Ã?Â·Go on a boat ride.
Ã?Â·Play board games.
Ã?Â·Play dress up.
Claim your right to do absolutely nothing or whatever you want to do.
Mom and Dad Need Time Alone Too!
This is probably more important than any other tip. A marriage is the foundation of a happy family, Mom and Dad are a united team and the children know it.
Parents are a child’s first teacher, parents make their children feel safe and provide emotional support to their family. Children know that Mom and Dad have to be on the same page for things to work and parents should know that the dinner date planned is more important than Junior’s third baseball practice night of the week.
Take the time to provide regular maintenance to your marriage, have fun together and treat your family right. If you don’t, who will?