How to enjoy quality family time

You need to manage your activities in order to spend more time with your family. How can this balance be achieved?

If you are like many overworked parents, you may constantly wonder if you are spending enough time with your family.

You often hear the saying that when it comes to spending time with the people you care about, quality is what is essential, rather than quantity. There is no doubt that being present and aware with your children or your spouse for an hour a day is better than two or three hours spent with them while you’re busy on your phone or thinking of problems at work. However, quality times mostly only come about after regularly spending many hours together doing all sorts of things. This is because it takes time to build solid relationships where people trust each other enough to share their innermost thoughts and feelings.

Spending more time with your family can also positively affect your budget because spending time together doesn’t have to cost money. For example, instead of a family outing at the mall where everyone goes their separate ways, you could have a family movie evening at home – complete with popcorn. Instead of dinner at a restaurant, everyone can join in preparing a meal.

Say no

It’s all too easy to have what could be free time taken up by commitments like work assignments, play dates, sports practice or music lessons.

When you say ‘no’ to activities and people that aren’t essential, you’re making time for the important people, which is your family. Once you realise that saying ‘no’ enables you to prioritise your family, it becomes easier to decline a request or an invitation.


It is tempting to send your kids off to play or watch television so that you can get household chores done. Instead, you can opt to do some of these chores with your kids. Even very young children can learn how to sweep a floor and fold laundry. They’ll be proud that they can contribute to the family at this age. It will also help them develop a healthy work ethic.

It will probably take longer, especially with young children, so you’ll need to be patient. However, doing chores together will enable you to teach them how to do them properly while chatting about their day, your day and anything under the sun.

Carrying out home repairs is another way to bond with your children and teach them valuable life skills. For example, young children can hold a torch for you while you repair a leaky tap or reset the mains when the power goes off. While you clean out the gutters, explain what you’re doing and why to your kids. They’ll absorb it all, and when they are a bit older, they’ll be keen to help with household maintenance.


Planning, preparing, and cooking dinner takes up a lot of precious time after work when the family would rather be playing outside or talking about the day. Takeaways should be the exception rather than the rule, so how can you provide healthy home-cooked meals without wasting family time?

One way is to prepare double or treble quantities and freeze what you don’t eat for dinner another evening. For example, instead of making just one lasagne dish, make two and freeze one of them. This will save you stress and time later; even on hectic days, you will be able to relax knowing that you have healthy prepared meals in the freezer.

At least one night a week, get the whole family involved in cooking supper. Cooking with children can help build math skills and boost their self-esteem through measuring and weighing ingredients, and strengthen basic motor skills in younger children. It can also encourage healthy eating habits as children – and adults – are more likely to eat healthy food they helped to prepare.

As with other household chores, cooking with your children will take longer, and you’ll probably have more of a mess to clean up. However, cooking together is a way for the whole family to spend meaningful time with each other during the week, and your kids will learn some valuable lessons along the way.


Eating together as a family is an opportunity for more quality time. In addition, studies show that regular family meals positively impact a child’s development and social skills. For example, one study showed that frequent family meals led to a decrease in negative behaviour like substance abuse, violence, inappropriate sexual activity in adolescents, and lower rates of depression and suicide.

Try planning themes for some nights to make family dinner time more fun. For example, you could have Friday burger nights and get your kids to help prepare the burgers – don’t forget dessert. Make sure you and your spouse/partner are present during dinner. Get everyone to turn off their phones and give each other their full attention.

Screen time

Most children probably spend too much time on digital devices, but imposing a blanket ban on digital watching could lead to unnecessary resentment. Watching television shows and movies with your children can be a great way to bond with them and learn how they see the world. There may even be life lessons that come up during a show.

Another option is to have a media-free day once a week and do something else. Activities could include going to the park with your kids, playing outside or playing board games if the weather doesn’t allow outdoor activities.

Get physical

It’s well-established that children who engage in horseplay with their parents, friends and siblings get better marks at school and make friends more readily than those who don’t.

They also benefit from loving physical contact from their parents, which releases feel-good chemicals in the brain like endorphins and oxytocin. Interestingly, children who roughhouse at home tend to be less violent because they learn to distinguish between rough-and-tumble and aggression.

So, get physical with your kids. Start a wrestling match or a pillow fight when you get home from work, toss them on the couch, and swing them around.


Spending plenty of family time together will boost your children’s self-confidence, language skills, and overall behaviour. It also helps strengthen the bonds and builds trust between you and your spouse and your children. This is vital in keeping communication lines open when your children grow up.

You may regret the missed opportunities with your family if you don’t make the most of them now. Fortunately, your time and attention are both free, and those are usually what your family want most.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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