If you are like most people you treasure every minute with your family. Each hour you spend with those you love is precious and fleeting, and as we grow older those hours seem more important than ever before. But the demands of work, home and daily life can pull us away from those times we so enjoy.
What if a few changes, some small and others larger, could increase the amount and frequency of those times together? Below are several tweaks that can be made in your life to allow you to spend more time with your family without going broke.
1. Do household tasks together
One of the tried and true methods of parenting is to assign chores to children. It teaches responsibility, hard work and discipline. Rather than simply creating a list of chores and posting them on the fridge, why not make it a game and work together. Raking leaves, doing dishes, folding laundry, cooking and many other household tasks lend themselves well to a team effort that can turn into unplanned quality time with a practical result.
2. Get in shape as a family
In 2012 I took up running. I started with a Couch to 5K app (C25K) on my phone and after finishing my first 5K I was hooked. At that point my wife declared, “If you can run a 5K so can I.” Soon we began training together. Since we run at different paces we started at the gym on adjacent treadmills. The following year our son and his future wife joined in. Since that time we have run multiple 5Ks, a 10K, and a mud run as a family.
Recently I mentored runners on how to increase their speed…and my wife was in the group. She cut almost 3 and half minutes off her best 5K, all the while running right next to me.Maybe running isn’t your thing, but biking, swimming, yoga and walking all work well as a couple or family. Many local organizations have programs that you can sign up for at a low cost or free. No matter what you choose I’m sure there is a way you can be together and improve your collective health at the same time.
3. Find a shared hobby
A few years ago while in surgical ICU my sister-in-law received a lap blanket from a group that creates them for patients. Although the recipients were usually cancer patients they had a few extra and gave one to her. After her release she was inspired to help out by crocheting lap blankets and hats for the same cause. Soon she expanded and began crocheting cute headbands and washcloths for local coeds to sell and make money for mission trips.
One day, while helping her arrange her yarn her husband caught the bug. He prefers knitting, so now several evenings each week they sit next to each other and chat or watch a favorite show or movie while she crochets and he knits. Not only have they created more time together, they are helping others in the process.What hobby do you or someone else in your family have that can be shared? Painting, crafts, model building, music and many other hobbies can be shared by more than one person.
4. Start a home based business
Throughout our married life my wife and I have owned several home based businesses. We meet with others, travel, plan and do all of the little things a business requires…and we do them together. I can’t count the number of weekends we have driven long hours to attend an event or sit down with new business partners as a couple.
Unlike most business travel where one person is gone and the other stays behind, a home based business allows you to spend more time together, not less.You’ll be learning about personal and professional growth, mastering the art of relationships and potentially teaching others the same principles all the while becoming closer to each other. Whether you are selling items online or one of the hundreds of traditional home based businesses this is a great way to be with each other more…and make some cash in the process.
It is important to note that not every change on this list is applicable to all situations. But each change can add to your family time. Treat the list as a smorgasbord, choosing the ones that work for you and leaving behind those that do not. Also remember that life comes in seasons, so some changes will apply now while others will have their time in the future.
Bookmark this list and print it. Post it to your refrigerator and as you think of other ways to spend time together make notes on the page. Put forth a small effort to make the changes so that you and your family can be together as much as possible. Time is the only commodity you have that can never be replaced. Use it to show love to those you treasure the most.