“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.”
– Abigail Van Buren
Family time is a rhythm.
The rhythm of your family time is not constant; it changes with the season.
Every time you move, change jobs, or modify your routines, your family rhythm will change, too. Staying flexible with your routines allows them to always change for the better; your life is always changing, and the daily and weekly rituals that bring your family together need to change, too.
I’ve found that the best family time routines are the simplest.
- Eat a meal together once a day.
- Have a weekly date alone with my wife.
- Have a weekly date with each of my kids.
Those are my three routines, and I modify them, frequently.
Right now my oldest son and I go to a Parkour class together every week, just the two of us. Over the summer it might change into something different, at a different slot in my weekly schedule.
The trick is, when this weekly routine comes to its natural conclusion, we discover something special to do together.
I asked a few other dad-bloggers how they made time for family time. Here is what they said:
Mark Merrill – Helping Families Love Well
Grab “small pockets of time” with your child. For example, the next time you walk in the door from work and the kids meet you wanting your full attention, instead of telling them you’re going upstairs to change before you play with them….stop, drop and listen. Stop when you come in the door, drop to your knees, listen to them, hug them, play with them.
Ricky Shetty – DaddyBlogger.com
I find that having a weekly Sabbath really helps. Every Sunday, I focus fully on my family, taking them to Church, having a family lunch, and then doing a family activity in the afternoon. I purposefully and intentionally don’t do any work or business on Sundays.
Brandon Pearce – PearceOnEarth.com
My best method for making time with my family is to find things that we all like to do together, and schedule time for them. Whether it’s playing a computer game with my older kids, going on an outdoor excursion, or reading a good book together as a family, setting aside regular or periodic time for these activities, and having them be something we all look forward to, helps me remember to make this time a priority.
Ben Tafau – 1 Player Dad
Because I’m a single dad with shared care of my daughter, I try to make sure I take care of all of my household chores, errands and “me time” activities like going to the gym when I don’t have her so that on the four nights a week that I do have my daughter, it’s about spending time and having fun with her as much as possible!
James Rohl – Stay At Home Dad PDX
When I am busy with work I make sure to take a moment to be fully present with my kids and my wife. For the boys it means chatting over a kick around of the soccer ball while for my wife it might mean stepping away from the computer and talking to her face to face.
Adam Cohen – DadaRocks.com
Most people have jobs and work where meetings are required and people live and die by their outlook calendar popups…. If you’re starting to feel like you’re failing at being a dad, then schedule it. Schedule that hour or two for a trip to the playground or create half days off.
On the weekend schedule down time. Turn off your iPhone put away your computer and just hang.
Chase Reeves – Father Apprentice & Fizzle.co
I’ve been working really hard at this for about 7 years now, so I’ve pretty much got it all figured out. All you have to do is live and work on a commune where the village raises the child.
OR, being really wealthy helps (but it can still be hard to *enjoy* spending time with your kid sometimes even then).
One little trick I *do* find helpful, though, is to have a favorite café or bagel shop or smoothie shop to go to together. When I look back at the photos from the past few years I realize how many times I’ve snapped pictures of us together in moments like that.
“Do you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man that doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” – Marlon Brando
Do you have a tip to share on making time for family time?