Creative Child

Parenting: Ways to Give the Gift of Time this Holiday

by Deborah Song on Nov 13th, 2014

Nothing says I like you like spending time with someone. And yet, parents and children are finding it increasingly challenging to spend time together because of modern demands. In a survey that polled 2,000 parents, families were found to spend 36 minutes a day on average during the weekday and less than 8 hours a week total together. While it’s tough to find time amidst juggling work, school, house chores and other commitments, the holidays are an optimal time to engage in real quality time. The kind that involves eye contact and dialogue, not simply sitting in the same room together, breathing the same air. Here are five parenting tips on making the most of your time together this holiday season.

1. Turn off electronics.

Seven in 10 families spend what little time they have together in front of the TV, according to research. The best place to start if you want to spend the real quality time is to turn off the TV, shut off your computer, and silence your phone for an hour or two. And engage in family activities like taking a walk (weather permitting), wrapping and making presents, baking cookies or playing board games while sipping hot cocoa.


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2. Leave the house.

For those of us who have overdeveloped email trigger fingers, the temptation to be on our laptops may be too great. In which case, leave the premises and take the kids somewhere like the park, library or museum. Even more optimal, consider going on a family vacation. Even a local staycation has the miraculous ability to distance the mind from everyday hassles and focus on the family. According to research, 50 percent of parents admitted the only real time families got to spend time together was when they went on vacation away from the distractions of home.

3. Visit extended family.

The holidays are not only a time to spend with your kids but extended family as well. Increasingly, multiple generations of families spend less time together with an average of just six visits a year. Visiting relatives can also be a great excuse to get away.

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4. Develop family traditions.

Find an activity that your family can revisit year after year and make that your go-to staple for establishing a pattern for quality time. Growing up, a time-honored tradition for my family was putting up the Christmas tree or going to the mountains and playing with snow. Traditions are great because children like repetition. It gives them a sense of security. By establishing a family tradition, your child can have something he can predict and look forward to.

5. Rest.

Try to figure out a way this holiday season to take some time for yourself and recoup. Remember, happy parent, happy home. So pencil in some time to catch up on some z’s, read a book or watch a movie. This way, you can engage your children and family better.

 Want some other holiday activities for your family?

 

Deborah Song is a Los Angeles-based writer and the mother of two girls. She received her master’s in journalism from New York University and writes about parenting, business and kid entrepreneurship. You can read more of her work at lemonadepost.com.

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