Incorporating family time into your schedule

By Staci Chambers
Youth First Inc.

The last year and a half has certainly provided its fair share of uncertainties and changes. From school and business closures to stay-at-home orders, we have all had to adjust. Those adjustments inevitably lead to spending extended periods of time at home.

For some, this provided a silver lining among all the stress the pandemic generated: more time with family. That time allowed for more flexible schedules and challenged us to find new ways to connect and comfort our family members. As time has progressed, it seems that our planners are beginning to fill up once again.

It is easy to get caught back up in our busy schedules like before as we return to school and work. The family time that was so precious during the prime of the pandemic is now more limited. The following are simple and inexpensive ways to incorporate family time into our schedules as we become busy again.

• Prioritize mealtimes. Whether it is breakfast or dinner, at the table or on the couch, mealtimes are great opportunities to reconnect and update each other on recent experiences. Cooking a meal together may even be a fun task to complete together.

• Plan a family night. At least once a month, plan a family night in. This may include takeout night, movie night or game night. The kids will love to help plan this.

• Go on regular evening walks with your family. When the weather permits, going on a walk with the family is a simple way to get some fresh air, chat and exercise.

• Be a part of the kids’ bedtime routine. This applies more to families with younger children. Make it part of the nightly bedtime routine to tuck them into bed and read them a book. This is a great way to wind down from the day with your child.

• Create a group chat for texting. This applies more to families with older children. Creating a group chat for the entire family is a convenient way to share stories, pictures and day-to-day experiences with one another.

Time is a worthy investment to make when it comes to your family. Small strides to keep your family members connected can make all the difference. Consider implementing just one of these ideas into your family’s routine as the bustle of returning to school and work unfolds.

One concept that is ever present in my mind these days is adjusting to the “new normal.” Among all of the other changes we have had to adopt, why not make prioritizing time with your family another “new normal?” This is one that all members of the family are sure to appreciate and benefit from.

Staci Chambers, LSW, is a Youth First social worker at Delaware Elementary School in Vanderburgh County. Youth First Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening youth and families. Youth First provides 78 master's level social workers to 105 schools in 12 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 or call 812-421-8336.

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