With busy schedules, conflicting appointments, and many obligations to get through each day, it can be difficult to create space on the calendar to spend time with your family. We’ve all been there. At the end of a long day, it often seems easier to just crowd around the television before heading off to bed in separate parts of the house, only to wake up and repeat the same cycle with limited interaction.
These types of days will simply blur into one another because they don’t represent anything novel or memorable. Sooner or later, you will notice that your kids or parents or siblings have all grown up and grown apart and you may feel like you’ve missed your chance to enjoy quality family time. But there is a way to create meaningful interactions, moments, and memories with your family. You just need to be somewhat intentional about it! That’s why our post today is all about how to create more family time, different ideas to try during that time, and how best to remember those cherished moments.
We recognize that not everyone is lucky enough to live in close proximity to family members. The good news is that these same practical tips and ideas work just as well with friends, neighbors, or even pets that we care about.
How to Create More Family Time
The first step towards creating more family time starts before the actual time comes for the interaction. Planning out a day and time is crucial to ensuring that everyone is available and prepared to spend time with each other. Without asking family members a week or two in advance to set aside some time to spend together, it can easily turn from a joyous occasion to an unwanted interruption.
Try to give each family member a heads up that you’d like to do an activity or spend some time with them about 2 weeks before the event. Then, two or three days before the event, make sure to send out a reminder whether via text, email, or phone call. Being intentional with our schedules helps us get over that initial inertia often needed to do something more than just fall into the trap of answering emails or watching tv.
Better yet, instead of trying to schedule a random day or evening with the family, try to set up a recurring day and time that everyone agrees to and then stick with it. For example, this might look like pizza and board games every Friday night at 7 pm. And if someone can’t make it, because they are sick or an emergency came up, you should still have the event with whoever is still available. By carving out regular family time into your schedules, you will be more successful in sticking with the plans, and cancellations or other priorities will be less likely to take precedence. It helps if you create a reward associated with the habit.
For example, having pizza might be a special treat that only happens on those Friday hangouts and incentivizes even the moodiest of teenagers to join you. This reward will create the habit of spending time with family, and the cue will be that every Friday, each person can look forward to a special something. Below, we detail more activities that you can do as a family with built-in rewards.
Ideas for Family Activities
Get a set of family e-bikes and cruise around town, including a stop at the ice cream shop. By adding in a tasty reward, this fresh air adventure will be something everyone looks forward to all summer long. And don’t worry – if you have a young child too small to ride their own e-bike, you can always carry them in a rear child seat.
Have a pizza night with board games or a movie. Make sure to get everyone’s favorite toppings and you can even pick a different movie or board game each time so that everyone gets to experience their favorite family activity.
Bake cookies or cupcakes together and decorate them with frosting. Be sure to get all the ingredients at the grocery store beforehand!
Pack a picnic and head to the beach every Sunday around lunchtime. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Hike or bike in a nearby park and then grab your child’s or partner's favorite food on the way home. New adventures can be found right in your hometown or backyard if you look hard enough.
Go bowling and offer your kids a dollar for every strike or bet a small amount of money for whoever gets the highest score. Bowling is a great activity to do in the winter months.
Plan a weekend vacation and rent a cabin up north with s’mores and hot dogs. If you bring your bikes or gear, make sure to lock everything up when not at the cabin or tent.
Capturing Family Memories
It’s important to be present during these moments to ensure you remember them. Try to stay off your computer or phone during these times. Showing your kids or spouse that you are fully invested in the moment will set the right expectation.
Looking forward to family time is often a reward in and of itself. Scheduling out activities in advance allows everyone to look forward to the day of the event. Try to leave personal grievances and tempers out of the time. Remember that these are the most important people in your life and one day they won’t all be able to join you.
Remember, the best way to carve out family time is by putting it on the schedule and making it a regular habit. Try to mix up the variety of activities you do to keep them fresh and ensure everyone gets to do what they want. Be present and active in these moments and take lots of photos to remember the fun times!
For more family-related activities that you can do with an e-bike, be sure to check out our Top 5 Summer Activities with Electric Bikes.