Why Time with Family Matters

36Spending time with your family is one of the most important things you can do. Time together gives you an opportunity to laugh together, cry together, share your hearts with each other and really get to know each other. When you spend time with your family, you are building relationships with the people who are the most important to you. Even though spending time together can be challenging because of the busy lives we all lead, making the time to be together on a regular basis can have a significant impact on the dynamics of your family.

Unconditional Love

The moments spent watching your child score a home run in baseball are priceless. So are those karate matches and even field day at school. However, children need time with their parents that doesn’t involve pressure on them to win at something. Both parents and children benefit from time spent together just because they have a desire to. Children need unconditional love. They need to know that you want to spend time with them, and not just because you’re expecting performance out of them. When families spend time together out of a sheer desire to just be together, it provides an opportunity for their bond to grow stronger.

Family Values

Children will learn from watching their parents. While what you say holds some weight in the eyes of your child, what you do counts even more. Spending time together allows parents the opportunity to demonstrate the things that are important. For example, perhaps your family is on a vacation together. You pull into a gas station and someone asks Dad for help with their vehicle that has broken down. Even though your family is on a tight schedule, Dad takes a few minutes to offer some assistance to the other family and manages to get their car started again. Dad has just used his time with his family to demonstrate a very important family value: Always help others. That simple lesson carries more weight than if Dad had simply instructed his family to always help others.

Active Participation

In many families, as the kids get older, each member of the family becomes a “roommate” rather than remaining a member of the family unit. Children become able to care for themselves with very little guidance. Parents depend too much on the fact that the children are mostly self-sufficient and begin focusing excess time on work or personal interests. The result in many of these families can sometimes come in the form of rebellious behavior or even depression in children. Regardless of how old or how mature your children are, they still need you as a part of their lives. This may mean temporarily putting down the electronics and turning off the phone, leaving the dishes unwashed for a little while, or even asking for occasional outside help. That need for your involvement in their activities and for your interest in them as people began from babyhood, and it has never gone away. When you actively participate in your children’s lives, many times they will actively participate in yours, resulting in an even closer bond with each other.

Time together as a family isn’t something that will just happen; it must be carved out of your schedule and set aside as something special and sacred. Families who make their time together a priority are families with children who excel in school, have good friends, and who make good decisions. Regardless of whether your plans include a weekend away together each month or quality dinner conversation every night, put your family time first in your list of priorities. The time you invest in your family will have a substantial and precious return.

Image credit:  Melbia