While we all aspire for work-life balance, most parents start each day early and end each day late. Despite our best efforts to maximize time at home during the week, even the most disciplined working professionals find it challenging to eke out more than a couple of hours a night with their kids.
But remember—quality over quantity. Make the most of the time you do have with these together-oriented suggestions:
Work doesn’t end when you get home: someone needs to make dinner, wash the dishes and laundry, and take out the garbage. Let your kids know that pitching in can be fun. When everyone works together to get things done, there’s more family time for all.
How do you get started? Bring out their inner chefs. By letting children have a say in the menu for the week, they’ll be more likely to engage with you during grocery shopping, cooking, and even cleanup. Eschew prepackaged foods or takeout, and turn your home into a restaurant instead. Let the kids pick recipes, shop with you for ingredients, and have a meaningful part in the preparation process. Even toddlers can pitch in. It also will spice up the dinner table conversation as your fledgling foodies discuss their dishes.
Sweat it out!
Do you sacrifice exercise when you’re busy with work and family? Ditch the “I don’t have time” excuse. By making exercise time family time, everyone wins.
Nothing puts a smile on my face like watching my two-year-old daughter try to crank out pushups. Turning weekly workouts into family experiences helps everyone stay in shape and connected. You may need to alter your normal exercise routine (or slow down a bit), but you’ll probably have more fun with your new activities. As an added bonus, establishing good physical fitness habits at a young age helps create healthy behaviors that can last a lifetime. Few exercises give you more bang for your muscles’ buck than the old fashioned pushup. Set a goal to be able to do 100 at once. You’ll be surprised how fast you (and the kids) can get there.
Learn something new!
Growing personally and professionally can have a big impact on your life—whether you’re looking to learn a new language, get continuing education credits, or obtain an advanced degree. If you schedule homework time for the whole family, you might just achieve your growth goals more quickly than you thought possible.
Pick a time where homework is the focus for the whole family. It’s amazing what can get done in an hour or two if you devote time and consistency to it. You’ll also show your children firsthand the importance of a healthy work ethic and commitment to learning.
A family that eats together, sweats together, and learns together is likely one that communicates well, shares common interests, and is in touch with everyone. By overhauling your evenings and turning the daily grind into an interactive experience, everyone wins.