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In today’s fast-paced world, where both parents often work and after-school hours are packed with sports, music lessons and other extra-curricular activities, it’s easy to let family fun time fall by the wayside in favor of frenetic schedules.
However, family activities and traditions are perhaps more important now than ever.
Don’t let this vital – and fun – part of your family life slip away; make a point of scheduling time together into yours and your kids’ jam-packed schedules. Here are five of the many reasons why.
Time spent together just having fun is associated with kids and parents forming stronger emotional bonds, and it doesn’t have to be a major trip or expensive outing.
Just a simple picnic at the park, a trip to watch the stars at a local observatory or a family bike ride around the neighborhood can be just as beneficial (if not as thrilling!) as a trip to Disney World.
When you take time out of your hectic schedule to relax, hang out and laugh with your kids, it shows them that they’re important to you and you enjoy being with them. Kids who spend leisure hours with their parents are more likely to turn to them for advice or seek them out when they’re having problems.
From Better Manners to Better Grades
Youngsters who spend quality hours as a family have been found to perform better academically, be more compassionate and even learn better manners.
Whether you’re taking the kids out for an ice cream cone, going on a family sledding expedition or just watching a movie, there are so many chances to teach manners, talk about values and even to show by example how to deal with things when they don’t go as planned.
After all, as one mom put it, “I tell my kids that the bumps in the road aren’t bumps, they are the road.” Kids can learn to navigate them with kindness and humor.
Better Communication with Mom and Dad
When youngsters engage in fun activities with their family, more open communication tends to develop, and when kids feel free to talk more openly with their parents, they tend to get in less trouble.
Something as simple as playing a friendly game of catch or splashing around in the pool can lay the groundwork for a more connected relationship between you and your kids.
In a time when people of all ages tend to become a bit isolated by more technological modes of communicating like the Internet and texting, just getting out and playing as a family can set the ground for super inter-family communication.
Whether it’s a family tradition of driving around to “ooh and ah” over Christmas lights, an annual shell collecting expedition to the beach or a Jack-o-Lantern carving ritual, times spend having fun as a family hone a child’s all-important sense of belonging, of being loved.
When parents like hanging out with them, kids get the notion that they’re people of value, that their talents, personalities and opinions are important. Youngsters who grow up feeling secure of their place in the world gain a strong foundation of confidence and self-esteem that will serve them well on the sometimes rocky road to growing up.
Better Times in the Terrible Teens
Teens who have grown up spending active family time with parents often have fewer behavioral problems in these tough years.
In spite of the fact that they may act like they don’t care about hanging out with you and may pass up family time for a get-together with friends, parents should keep scheduling special time and not take it too much to heart if it doesn’t always work out.
After all, kids often need their parents the most just when they’re acting like they couldn’t care less.
Last but not least, family fun time is just plain fun, for you and your kids. There's not a lot more heart warming than hearing your child say "remember how we always....?"
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