Spending time together as a family is a great way to bond with your children and for them to bond with their siblings. But not every activity has to have you all on the go, here, there, and everywhere. Sometimes, gelling together over some laid-back activities is exactly what you, and they, need.
Here are some tips and activities to make the most of your family downtime.
Avoid Brain Drain
Think of your brain like your phone - the battery charge level gets lower and lower the more you use it. By day’s end, your phone needs a charge. The same goes for your brain. Down time isn’t wasted time - it’s valuable time!
Resting your brain can improve your mood, help you perform better, and better your concentration, and down time is one way to rest your whole family's brains. When it comes to your family, there are some leisure activities that are especially effective as down time.
Plan a Picnic
Picnics are a fun summertime activity that you can have right in your backyard. Make sure there’s something for everyone to eat – sandwiches, fruit salad, and some chips are great simple options. Spread out a blanket on the lawn, pick your spot – either the sun or shade - and enjoy some relaxing family time.
Staying on the subject of food, family dinner is a lost tradition from years gone by. Sunday is the ideal time to have a shared meal, because it’s a relaxing way to close out the weekend. Good food and good conversation while surrounded by good people are truly re-energizing.
Plus, the benefits of family dinner for your kids are numerous:
- Better grades in school
- Higher self-esteem
- Lower risk of teen pregnancy
- Lower risk of depression
- Lower risk of substance abuse
- Lower obesity rates
- Improved vocabulary for preschoolers
- Improved cardiovascular health in teenagers
Family dinner also has some benefits for parents too:
- Lower risk of depression
- Increased self-esteem
- Higher consumption of fruits and veggies
Jigsaw puzzles aren’t just for kids. They give the entire family a chance to work together. There are all sorts of puzzle pictures you can choose from, and this activity can generate hours of fun over multiple nights depending on the size of the puzzle you choose. One good tip is to find one from a favorite city you’ve visited or a memorable vacation spot.
Now, everyone start finding those smooth border pieces!
Movie Marathon Day
Sometimes, you need to let the weather dictate your family down time activity. A movie marathon is ideal for a rainy day. Let each family member pick their favorite movie, and that’s the viewing agenda. Pop the popcorn, grab some couch or a comfy chair, and enjoy a trip to the movies, with your family, all from the comfort of your own home.
Turn off the TV and put the screens away: time to break out an oldy but a goody. Board games!
There are so many to choose from - the little ones in your family will appreciate Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land, while older family members may well enjoy old favorites like Monopoly or Risk. Or, you can always opt for a fun card game, such as Uno.
Break Open the Books
Sure, reading takes some brain power. But if you’re enthralled in a good book, does it even feel like you’re using your brain or do the words just jump off the page?
If you have reluctant readers in the family, try this idea: a family reading contest. Set a specific timeframe – a few months, perhaps. Keep track of how many books each family member reads over that time. Everyone is getting some down time, albeit at different times, reading their books. At the same time, they’re competing in a fun contest.
Of course, there must be a prize for most books read. Maybe the family goes out to dinner at the winner’s favorite restaurant? Or everyone chips in to buy the winner a gift card of their choice?
Life can be fast, busy, and complicated for adults and children. That’s why it is so important to slow down and give your brain a break. You can accomplish that by spending down time with your family and making memories in the process.