9 Tips for Finding Quality Time With Your Family

Juggling school, work, and activities can be a challenge

Shot of a happy family having pizza

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If your nightly refrain is how tired you and the kids are, perhaps your family is struggling with balancing work, school, and everyone's activities. Here are some quick tips for juggling the various schedules and spend some quality time together as a family:

1. Create a Family Night

Creating a family night is simple and can create memories to last a lifetime. Whether it's movie night, take-out night (think pizza or Chinese, for example), game night, or a family walk night, the key is that a night each week is designated for togetherness. Relax and talk with each other! You might be surprised by the things you learn from your kids on your special night.

2. Get to Know Your Child's Friends

Spend time getting to know your child's friends. Letting kids "hang out" at your place gives you valuable insight into what interests and motivates your child and helps you understand the "crowd" he or she is associating with. For younger kids, an hour or two with a friend can teach sharing, responsibility, taking turns, and other traits through actual learning and experiences. And don't forget that many child experts indicate that free time for play and social interaction can be better for a child's development than too many organized or structured activities.

3. Let Your Child Choose Their Activities and Interests

Don't be a helicopter mom! Too many well-meaning parents sign their kids up for activities they're genuinely not interested in or good at, then face conflicts and power struggles. It's another issue all-together if your child continually begs to sign up for activities and then wants to quit, but kids at even a young age develop certain interests and dreams that they want to pursue. And, they most likely won't be the same dreams you had either! Be careful to choose your battles and accommodate activity requests where practical.

4. Consider the Commitment When Making Decisions

Consider whether your child is over-scheduled. More and more activities are emphasizing additional practices and time requirements in today's competitive world. You, as the parent, have to decide if a particular activity is appropriate for your child. Time-pressed families might prefer to sign kids up for a recreation league instead of a select season.

5. Evaluate and Determine Your Child's Level of Commitment

If your kid says an activity "might" be fun, avoid committing to a full season or year. Not only could it present a problem for your child if he/she doesn't like it, but will infringe on the other players/members participating in the activity. Many teams rely on a certain number of players or kids to form a group, and a last-minute pull-out could impact everyone else. If you're not sure, consider signing your child up for a mini-camp or week-long or short session instead. If your kid loves it, then you can always seek something more in the future.

6. Assign Family Responsibilities

If everyone in the family participates in some type of activity, then general household chores may be harder to get accomplished due to lack of time. Have a family meeting and explain that to participate in these enrichment activities, everyone will have to pitch in to complete family chores. If you set expectations upfront, any grumbling will be minimized. Even small kids can help set the table, clear dishes, or take out the trash cans to the curb.

7. Watch for Signs of Being Overextended

Look out for signs that your kid is overscheduled. If your kid's grades start plummeting or you get a note that says Emma often falls asleep after mid-morning snack, you may be asking too much of them. Keep in mind a child's age, personality, and decision-making ability.

8. Encourage Family Members to Be a Team

A family who plays together, stays together is the message and encourage your kids to support each other's activities and endeavors.

9. Keep Family First

Planning quality family time will help keep your priorities straight will ensure a happier, better-adjusted family.

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