“Families that play together, stay together.”
You’ve probably heard this saying – and plenty of others like it – over and over again. And it’s true!
Family time is important for everyone in your family, including you, but it is an especially important part of your young child’s formative developmental years. This is when your child is learning to interact with others, to communicate, to make memories, and to be confident in themselves and their abilities.
Here at Harmony, we support your child’s development throughout the duration of their learning journey with us. You can extend the progression of their development by carrying the lessons that they learn during the day into the time that you spend together each evening.
Prioritising spending time together as a family can support your child’s development in these areas and many others, all while building memories together that will last a lifetime. Here are 5 benefits of quality family time.
You Can Strengthen Your Family Ties
This, of course, is the most well-known benefit of spending time together as a family. The time that you spend playing, laughing, sharing details about your day, telling stories, or even performing mundane tasks such as running errands strengthens the bond between you and your children.
If you feel like your family is missing out on quality bonding time, try incorporating these simple activities into your daily routine:
- Instead of ordering a pizza or takeout, set aside a night to cook dinner together as a family. You can let your children lead the way, choosing the meal and finding the recipe or choose an old favourite from a cookbook that your children can assist with.
- Spend ten minutes each evening to ask your child about their day.
- Have family meetings to discuss upcoming trips, holidays, or even simple things such as weekly chores and meal planning.
- Volunteer for school events that your child is excited about. This could be something as simple as making cookies for a bake sale or chaperoning a field trip!
You don’t have to spend a large sum of money or plan a grand adventure. Strong family bonds also foster a sense of comfort in your child, solidifying the knowledge that you are a present and loving presence in their life.
Your Child Will Be Less Likely to Act Out
Children exhibit “bad behaviours” for a variety of reasons. As a parent, it’s important to recognise that those behaviours usually stem from a need to communicate, and a lack of understanding from the adult as to what the child is trying to say.
However, not all bad behaviours can be attributed to communication-related frustration. Habits such as poor sharing, interrupting others, and throwing temper tantrums are common in many children, but can be dissuaded through consistent reinforcement during family time.
Not sure where to start? Try some of these tips for inspiration:
- Remembering that your child will learn from your example, exaggerate positive behaviours (such as thanking someone for sharing the couch with you) with your spouse and other children.
- Give your child plenty of affection, and encourage positive behaviours.
- Interact with your child to explain why some behaviours are good and others are bad, structuring the discussion as a conversation rather than as admonishment.
Family Time Gives Your Child a Safe Place to Learn and Grow
Your child will feel the most safe and supported when they are spending time with their family. This level of comfort is crucial to the development of their self-confidence and self-awareness, as your child will be more likely to voice their opinion or experiment with ideas in this setting.
For example, your child may love to build tall towers out of blocks. However at their childcare centre they may let other children take the lead on determining which blocks should be placed where and what the finished structure should look like. At home, however, your child is free to take charge and lead the construction of the craziest tower that they can imagine.
It’s important to encourage your child to make their own decisions, even if that means sometimes making mistakes along the way. Try to offer help only when asked for it. Your child will be most comfortable making mistakes at home, and doing so surrounded by the love of their family is an important step to being comfortable doing so outside of the home.
Spending Time Together Increases Happiness
This may sound cliche, but it’s true!
Spending time together as a family can help everyone to unwind, relax, and have fun – including you! Spending time with your children releases hormones that are linked to dispelling feelings of anxiety and boosting your overall mood.
Quality family time can also have positive long-term effects on your child’s ability to manage stress. Building a strong support system, which is emphasised through family activities, helps your child to know that you are always there for them.
This feeling is further supported when family time is a regular and dependable occurrence, and will help to keep your child from being overwhelmed by life’s problems (both large and small). Being there for each other in times of difficulty will only serve to emphasise your support even further.
You Can Extend Your Child’s Learning
We offer parents many ways to stay involved in their child’s experience at Harmony, including regular communications, opportunities to offer feedback, and the opportunity to get real-time updates through Storypark. Parents who take advantage of those opportunities know what their child is learning each day, and are able to carry those lessons through family playtime at home.
This is true for children of every age!
If your child is learning addition and subtraction, then you can ask them to count toys as you put them away at the end of the day. When your child is learning to recognise letters and to read words, you can make a game out of identifying them during trips to the grocery store.
Your child’s learning journey doesn’t stop while they are at home. Take advantage of the time that you have together to support and enhance their development!