With work, school, homework, after school activities, friends and more, there are countless activities that compete for time on the family calendar. Family time, however, can serve as an escape from the demands and deadlines of daily life, and is paramount in building strong relationships.
Family time offers many benefits, including building confidence, creating a stronger emotional bond between family members, improving communication skills, better performance in school and reduced behavioral issues, as well as providing an opportunity to make memories built on fun, laughter and togetherness.
Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families. Both “core” leisure activities, such as playing a board game, watching television, gardening or playing outdoors and “balance” activities, which require a greater investment of planning, time and money, such as a family vacation or trip to an amusement park or sporting event, can have a big impact on the overall health of a family, according to research published by the National Council on Family Relations. Simply making it a habit to display interest in the well-being of your family members can lead to a willingness to share problems and build mutual respect between parents and children.
Children whose parents spend time with them and take an interest in their education tend to do better in school and complete higher levels of education than those whose parents spent their time at home pursuing their own hobbies, according to a study published on familyfacts.org. Providing essential guidance through studying and assisting with homework, as well as incorporating educational games, can provide children a positive influence, lead to emotional well-being and help them strive for higher levels of educational success as they grow.
Children learn how to behave and communicate by watching their parents interact with each other and others. Family bonding time is a way to model expected behaviors, and spending time together as a family can help parents relate more to their children and open the lines of communication. Spending a few minutes together once everyone is home for the day, whether for dinner or a scheduled family “meeting,” can help families learn to listen to, trust and understand one another, and build appropriate behaviors.
On average, adolescents who communicate and spend more time with their families tend to exhibit lower levels of aggression and antisocial behavior than peers with less involved parents, according to familyfacts.org. A closer family relationship has also been linked to reductions in acts of violence, delinquent behavior, substance abuse and tobacco use. Communication and spending time together can help relieve feelings of anxiety or anger and reduce urges to participate in risky behaviors.
One of the most important benefits of spending time together is also one of the simplest: creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s playing a game together, attending an event, going on vacation or just sitting in the living room or around the table talking and laughing, positive memories are beloved possessions that give family members a sense of belonging and can help reinforce the importance of family.
Simple Ways to Enjoy More Family Time
Skillfully balancing an entire family’s demands from school, sports, activities and careers leaves little down time, but keeping family values front and center may be easier than you think when you make a commitment to carving out meaningful moments to share.
Unplug from the digital world. Today’s technology-ridden world makes it easy for families to be present but not engaged. When you create a technology-free zone, you eliminate distractions so you can keep the focus on each other. Dedicate time every week to spend as a family without the use of TV, tablets, computers and phones.
Bond and bake together. There’s a little baker in everyone. After all, who can help but “woo-hoo” when you pull fresh cupcakes out of the oven? Take a little time to embrace your inner Doughboy, turn your kitchen into a fun zone and savor all the moments with your family. One easy way to get started is with Pillsbury™ Purely Simple™ baking and frosting mixes, which use simple ingredients and contain no colors, preservatives or artificial flavors, providing a delicious homemade taste. They’re the perfect mixes to challenge your family to enjoy a kitchen full of laughter, anticipation and the delightful aroma of baked goods fresh from the oven.
Share family stories. Reminiscing about special family moments is an essential part of keeping those memories alive. Showcasing old photo albums is a great way to share fun and nostalgic memories, which can help bring your family closer together. Whether it was a trip to the mountains or visiting a nearby museum, discussing and reliving these memorable moments can evoke fond memories and a willingness to create new ones.
Set a day each week for family night. It’s easy to get caught up in a busy schedule, which is why consciously setting aside family time is essential. Once it’s set, you may be tempted to turn the open night at home into an invitation to catch up on housework or even just relax. Avoid the temptation and instead look for fun ways to spend that time as a family. Start a puzzle or play a board game. Initiate a DIY project for the house, spend time baking or cooking a meal, or simply sit together and talk about what’s happening in the lives of those who matter most.
Find more ideas to help make the most of your family time at PillsburyBaking.com.
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