Make Time for Family Time

Most families are so busy these days with activities like the daily drive to and from school, hopping from school to ballet lessons or hockey practice, making cookies for the school bake sale, cooking meals, getting a haircut for your son and checking up on the children’s homework. Whew! A parent’s work is never done!

Add to these activities a career, the need to exercise and stay fit, occasional social obligations, personal time and soon you may find that your marriage is suffering. In order to keep a marriage strong and healthy, some marriage therapy sessions may be needed.

Some families also require family counseling occasionally simply because they have not had quality time to spend together and communications have broken down. Relationships in your family are so important but many families don’t have the needed time to spend with each other in order to build strong ties.

Each relationship in your family is a bit different. The relationship between husband and wife, the parent and child/children relationship and the one between the siblings. There is often a need to strengthen the bonds between these various relationships. It may be complicated, but we can and should make time for family time. There should also be time set apart for the individual to grow in his or her own interests. The important thing is to strike a balance between time together as a family and time for each individual family member’s own set of activities.

One way for your family to do so is learning how to manage your time. The good news is, there are some ways for you to get a grip on all those activities that are robbing you of time. Here are some simple time management strategies:

–          Know what activities each individual family member likes. To minimize a steady string of activities that all family members may not enjoy, it is best to ask each person what his or her idea of “family time” looks like and what events or activities give them a sense of connection with the family. It may be something as simple as preparing and eating meals together, telling stories by the fireplace, watching a movie or going to the beach.

–          Insist on non-negotiables. What are your priorities as a family? Are you committed to having a minimum number of family dinners together or Sunday family time?

–          Establish ground rules for activities. Call regular family meetings to determine individual activities based on the goals and ground rules you have established as a family. Activities should be based on what each individual family wants to do, how it will fit into the budget, the level of commitments the family has and the activity’s impact on the whole family. It should also take into consideration how it will affect your time for other things like school or work and whether there is a balance between other activities.

–          Post a Family Calendar. Once everyone has chosen their schedule for a specific period, post these schedules on a large calendar for everyone to see. Make sure to leave some empty spaces on the calendar. These teach children how to be creative in keeping themselves occupied as they discover how to fill these “empty slots” with something they enjoy.

–          Schedule family time. While everyone is busy with their own activities, time together should never be neglected. Family time can be made up of “do-nothing” days, where family members simply spend time walking the dog, playing table games, shooting hoops and so on. It can also be a family outing to somewhere special.

–          Schedule couple time. Parents must also have date nights and time spent as a couple. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty that you spend time together without the children. When you take time to strengthen your relationship as spouses, your children will be the better for it. If there are problems that you and your spouse have to face, you can also ask outside help from a third party such as a marriage counselor.

Making Time for Therapy

Family relationships may be a challenge for some due to unique situations. There may be problems that arise requiring some therapy. A substance abuse counselor may be necessary to deal with a teen who has started “trying out” smoking, alcohol or drugs. Couples counseling could also be useful for spouses that are undergoing problems in their relationship. As it is important to make time for other enjoyable family activities, it is also important to make time to work together to fix problems that may be affecting the marriage or family relationship.

For the residents of Provo, Utah, family counseling is available from Triston Morgan for family counseling. Triston provides a non-confrontational atmosphere for loved ones to work through issues that may be damaging to the family relationship. He can also provide invaluable time-management tools for parents to use for the family’s benefit. Triston has years of experience with couples and families and holds a license to practice marriage and family therapy in Utah.


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