Are you overscheduled? How I learned to make family time a priority.

‘Tis the season! No not the holiday season, it’s “my life is crazy busy starting in September” season. The start of school brings with it brisk cool mornings and the return to our hectic schedules. Does this sound familiar to you? I hear ya, I AM one of you. I struggle with finding a balance between structured activities and having some good quality family time.

However for me, it was not always like this…

The year my youngest entered school full time, at the tender age of 4, I made a conscious decision not to put her in any activities. Yup that’s right. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Not even on Saturdays. I knew from the time she was a baby that she had strong emotions; some might even call her “spirited”. It would take all her energy & mine to get through the week, we would need down time and lots of it.

Young Family Having Fun In ParkThat year was full of park visits, family skating at the local arena and building forts in the snow. It also brought nightly home cooked meals shared together, imaginary play, lots reading and art work. I am glad we had this experience. It helped us make family time a priority as we moved forward into a life with activities. Also I truly believe that it is one of the main reasons my daughter is now better able to cope and regulate her emotions. She was given the opportunity to play without being rushed or programmed.

Life has changed, the kids are older and we have a crazy rep hockey schedule, however we make spending time together a priority. We take walks together which often leads us to the local bakery. Our meals are sometimes rushed, but the TV is always off and our conversations are still plentiful. A Monday rather than a Friday night is often our time together watching a movie or playing Apples to Apples. I truly appreciate and recognize how precious & short life is and how important it is to enjoy family time.

Here are the 5 tips I used to make family a priority:

  • Limit your activities. Learn to say no. If you say yes too often, the whole family pays the price.
  • Leave empty spaces in your calendar. Free play helps children learn, manage stress and build healthy coping skills. It’s okay to let your child chill once in a while.
  • Make family a priority. Family time is as important as school, sports, and social activities. Have fun together and embrace this time.
  • Be active and eat healthy. Exercise is a known stress-buster. Go for walks or bike rides together. Also, families who eat together have better nutrition and talk more to each other.
  • Get enough sleep. Being well rested gives both you and your child the energy to deal with whatever your busy day brings.

Also check out this great resource Family_Fun_in_Halton[1].  Share with us how you fit in family and play time in your life?

  • Leave us a comment below
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Call  HaltonParents by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

About Cynthia Lindsay RN

Hi everyone. My name is Cynthia Lindsay and I work as a public health nurse with the school years program. I've been a nurse for almost 20 years (wow time flies!) with the last 10 years focused on what I've discovered to be my passion... Parenting. I now have many parenting accreditations and enjoy connecting with parents in the community through Triple P, parenting groups & social media. "Je parle aussi le français" and I love working, making connections, and raising my teen son & pre-teen daughter with my hubby in Halton.
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