We’re all about creating real family connections through fun, and we know you are, too! So we know quality family time isn’t just about doing more with one another; it’s about fostering connections through little things that can bring huge results. These simple tips can help create those connections.
1. Join in. Play. Be silly!
Yes, the dishes are calling and there’s a million things you could be doing while watching your kids play a game at the table—you’re still in the room with them, right? But your readiness to jump in is what your kids will remember most. So play on. Be goofy. Do all the silly things. They’ll love it—even (secretly) your teens.
Oh, and jumping in full force goes for activities in public as well. What does it matter if strangers are watching when your kids want to play Ninja during halftime at the soccer game or have long-jump contests walking into the grocery store. Join in! It may be the only five minutes you’ll get that day! Strangers (and even neighbors) won’t think about it in the future, but your kids will remember for years that you joined them even in the silly fun. And that creates bonds that last a lifetime.
2. Choose Practical over Pinterest.
Pinterest posts are beautiful, but they’re not always practical. So choose function over form and use your favorite ideas without necessarily needing to make them pretty—it could make the difference between wanting to do something and finding the time to actually do it. Forego the time to make things pretty and use every minute to simply play and connect in a way that’s PRACTICALly perfect. A plain-old paper towel roll works just as well as a paper-covered one, after all! (But if you do sometimes want the Pinterest version, see tip #6.)
3. Don’t be afraid of making a mess.
My nephews’ favorite games are often the ones where food flies across the kitchen. Sure, it’s a mess afterward, but it can be cleaned up. Each time my nephews bring up memories of the messy games we play (or when they ask to play them again), I’m reminded that messes last for a moment but memories last for a lifetime. I actually keep this photo below—from when our “Lifesaver Lightsabers” went flying everywhere—on my computer’s desktop as a constant reminder to embrace the mess in order to create the memory.
Pro tip: Set up the messy activities right before you’d deep clean the kitchen anyway, then it won’t add much extra work. Make the mess work best with your schedule! That's what I did when we sent Oreo cookies flying everywhere in the kitchen (which is another all-time favorite for one of my nephews).
4. Combine play with tasks!
You can turn almost anything into a game or adventure! At dinner, invite your kids to create a work of art with the food on their plate before you eat. While cleaning, see who can come up with the best dance move that incorporates dusting or vacuuming. It all goes back to tip #1—don’t be afraid to be silly; those moments of laughter can create some incredible inside jokes and favorite family stories to carry through the years.
5. Set a regular time.
This one may be obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. Since quality family time matters to you, set up a daily time to make it happen. Maybe:
- Take 20 minutes in the morning before school and work.
- Turn off all electronics 15 minutes earlier before bedtime—in fact, looking forward to a fun activity may help get your kids off their screens with less fuss at night!
- Give your kids a needed break between school and homework time with a 20-minute at-home recess schedule.
If it helps, try one of these free downloadables so your family knows when it’s time for family fun each day! (Click on one to download it.)
6. Let children lead.
Leadership experiences are important for your children, and the home is a great place to develop those skills! Invite your children to take an active part in your family’s #FunMeal each day. Although this site is for parents, once you print off the activities or gather the supplies, your children can help set things up.
Remember that plain-old brown paper towel roll from tip #2 above? If you do want it colored, let a child be in charge of decorating it—or make it a creative part of the activity itself. Letting your children help with the prep can inspire creativity, teach skills, build confidence and trust (both ways), create a sense of ownership in the activity, and help you maintain quality family time in your schedule.
What are YOUR favorite tips for creating quality family time? Share them below to help other moms and dads make memories in their homes!