Lazy Parenting Hack - FORCED FAMILY TIME
One of my favourite things we do as a family is “just spend time together”. I know, that sounds mushy and weird and all but….some of my favourite times are us (all 6 of us) just hanging out in each other’s company. It may be a ‘forced’ family walk through our neighbourhood or to a local park, it may be just chillin’ beside each other on the couch watching a show, it may be us all hanging out at the backyard sitting side by side reading a book/working or maybe even roasting marshmallows together as a late night snack. The thing is, it doesn’t matter what ‘IT’ is…the important thing is that ‘IT’ happens.
Because we are such an active house with many kids off in many different directions on any given day, we have to be purposeful and calculated about having these ‘IT’ times. Times where we are all just in each other’s company, occupying the same space. And yes, that means if it is an adventure out of the house, everyone comes, even if they don’t want to. I have found they usually warm up once we are out of the house and off to somewhere :)
This past weekend was an especially busy one in which we were split up all over at many different events. We found a way to come together on the last day at one of the kid’s basketball games. I got everyone to agree to go out for dinner afterwards and we all had a blast. Today we followed up with a small outing to a local trail and again, just walked and talked and laughed.
I love it all, the jokes that are made, the teasing the happens (largely at my expense), the quibbles and squabbles and yes, even the spats that inevitably happen.
Why? Because in between those moments listed above are the things I cherish so deeply….the one on one conversations I see between my children as they walk down a path/trail together side by side in deep (& ofter private) conversation. The deep & tear inducing belly laughs over some inside family joke that makes us an embarrassment at the local restaurant. The opportunity for my children to see my husband and I joking and laughing together with all of them.
I am so very proud that we seem to have created a family that likes to spend time together. And it wasn’t by magic that this has happened. It was through INTENTIONAL actions that FORCED time together as a family. It has taken work and repeated actions and above all else, the expectation that we all value & love each other for our individual quirks (including the annoying ones).
I encourage you to find the time to FORCE your spouse, your young children, your teens to hang out together. It has made our family stronger and I believe it can make yours stronger too.