Column: Making family time a priorityMay 11, 2021
By KELLI CHAMBERS
Youth First Inc.
How do you make time specifically for your family when carving extra time out of your already busy schedule seems next to impossible?
Often times it might feel like there are just simply not enough hours in the day, but intentionally setting aside family time is so valuable and will strengthen your relationships as a whole.
One of the best ways to start setting time for your family to be together is to lay out your weekly plans. It may help to keep a family calendar and post it in a spot where everyone can see it. Make sure to include work, school, extracurricular activities and other weekly tasks like cleaning, grocery shopping and attending church.
Categorizing each calendar item into “negotiable” and “non-negotiable” helps to see what can be shifted or eliminated. Using a family calendar can help keep the whole family’s activities organized and can help keep everyone on the same page. Weekly family meetings can also help with communication and decision making.
It is important to remember each family has different things going on, and your time together as a family can look different than others. Sometimes only a small portion of time can be devoted, but schedules might change later to allow for more family time.
If only a limited amount time is available to be with the family as a whole, seize every opportunity and make the most of it. Some small changes in your family’s daily routine could include sitting together at the dinner table for at least one meal a day and also making sure all electronic devices are turned off or put away when the family is together. Big changes can take time, but remember to celebrate the small successes along the way.
Take charge and be a leader in making sure your family gets to spend quality time together. Once changes are made and expectations are set, they will eventually become the norm.
Putting in the extra effort to make family time a priority will positively impact your relationships with one another as well as strengthen your communication. Time spent together is precious, because your kiddos are only young once.
Kelli Chambers, LSW, is the Youth First social worker at Evansville Central High School in Vanderburgh County. Youth First Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening youth and families, provides 64 Master's level social workers to 92 schools in 11 Indiana counties. Over 60,000 youth and families per year are served by Youth First's school social work and after-school programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors and maximize student success. To learn more about Youth First, visit youthfirstinc.org or call 812-421-8336.
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