We live in the age of social media and advanced technology that makes it possible to connect with people thousands of miles away from us, people of different cultures and backgrounds. While this can be exciting, it’s becoming obvious that it has the potential to hurt our relationship with those who matter the most, our family.
The family can be defined broadly as a group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit. The word “together” is what gives family meaning. A family is a group of people with a shared connection or bond.
This connection doesn’t necessarily have to be through blood, friends can become family. The point is, a family is a unit of people who are attentive to each other’s need, both physical and emotional.
It is widely known and accepted that anything left to itself without care will gradually decline and eventually gravitate towards ineffectiveness. The same principle applies to a family. There is a need to strengthen family bonds through deliberate efforts and activities aimed at strengthening the relationship between family members.
One of the most effective ways by which family bonds can be strengthened is quality time.
Besides strengthening family bonds, lengthening lives, and ensuring happiness and good health, there are a host of other benefits attached to spending quality time with family.
Here are ten reasons why quality family time is important.
1. Creates Memories
Memories are beautiful, they are most times the only thing we have left of the past and the people we know. Nothing lasts forever, but memories stay with us for a long time. Memories can get us through tough times. Memories can put a smile on our face when it’s hard to find something in the present moment to smile about.
Spending quality time with family creates beautiful and happy memories that we’ll cherish as time passes. No matter how hard we try, we can’t always be with the people we love. At some point, sadly, they have to go and memories are the only things we have left of them.
It’s important to spend as much time as we can with family now and create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
2. Relieves Stress
We live in a society that’s stressful and becomes more stressful as time passes. We face physical and emotional stress as we go through life trying to make meaning of it and make something of ourselves. Every once in a while we need to relax and relieve this stress. One of the best ways to do this is by spending quality time with family.
Being with family creates an environment of ease and calmness. It’s quite easy being one’s true self with family as there is no need or pressure to be a certain way or portray ourselves as something we’re not. With family, it’s easy to let go and just enjoy the moment.
Spending time with family also gives a sense of belonging and self-worth that can help us in tough times. It has been found that spending time with family helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. It creates an effect known as “tend and befriend,” the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.
3. Improves Mental Health
The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to his or her community.”
Mental health is tied to our emotions, how we feel, think, and behave. Spending time with family creates a loving environment where we can better deal with our emotions. We can express them to others in the family and communicate our problems and fears instead of bottling them up.
Spending time with family positively improves mental health because the family teaches us how to effectively communicate and maintain relationships with other human beings like us.
Family time enables us to live life with a hopeful and optimistic mindset, which in turn improves our mental health and overall well-being.
4. Encourages and Builds Positive Behaviours
The family is a training ground for children who will one day become adults and be integrated into the society. Quality family time ensures there is a transfer of positive behavior through influence. This can go two ways, negative behavior can also be transferred, but we’re considering the family in this sense as a functional family with positive values.
Without spending quality time, kids in a family are more likely to be influenced by outsiders who might teach them negative behaviors.
Doing things like eating meals together, praying together, playing games together, watching movies together, etc. creates an environment of positivity and love and helps to build positive behavior in kids.
5. Ensures Openness, Peace, and Unity
There’s no better place to share insecurities and fears than with family. But this won’t happen without the enabling environment.
Quality family time creates an environment that encourages openness. This in turn fosters unity and creates peace. It’s only by sharing concerns and grievances through openness that issues can be discussed and settled.
Without quality family time, issues that can’t be discussed on the fly will be swept under the rug and will breed negativity and might eventually lead to cold blood.
6. Improves Academic Performance of Children
Education starts from home. Kids whose parents are more involved in their schooling activities tend to do better in school. Spending quality time together ensures that parents can have discussions with their kids about how things are going in school. This way, problems that might negatively affect their school activities can be addressed early and nipped in the bud.
Spending quality time together also means parents can help their kids with their school work or ensure that they do their assignments on time.
Quality time breaks down communication barriers, making it easy for children to have meaningful conversations about their life and school work with their parents and other members of the family who can help them or give them valuable advice.
7. Teaches Children the Principles of Effective Parenting
Kids learn by example.
The time children spend with their parents helps them to develop parenting skills through observation. It might not be obvious in the moment, but in the future they’ll remember how they were raised and loved and they are more likely to replicate the same behavior with their own kids.
Quality time ensures that parents can pay more attention to their kids and mold their character by teaching them the ways of the world and what is right and wrong.
8. Teaches Effective Conflict Resolution
Conflicts are unavoidable, even within the most loving families. Arguments and conflicts are roads that lead to agreements and concrete understanding. When conflicts arise, it means someone is not satisfied with something and a change needs to happen somewhere.
The difference with families is the presence of love and understanding. When conflicts arise within family settings, it is settled with love and understanding.
Spending quality time together as a family teaches kids and other members of the family the importance of mediation, working through an argument to arrive at a solution that works for both parties involved, and sometimes letting things slide, making up and moving on.
9. Builds Self-Esteem and Confidence
Self-esteem is a measure of how a person values themselves and thinks about their worth. Self-esteem is built on care, doing things one enjoys and spending time with the people that make us happy and treat us well.
Kids who spend more time with their parents have better self-esteem and confidence. This happens because they sense that their parents love and value them. This feeling of being loved and valued creates high self-esteem and builds confidence.
Kids with a high level of self-esteem build relationships easily because they are confident about how valuable they are. They’ve been shown the importance of love, care, and treating people well and making them happy as much as they can.
This won’t happen without them spending quality time with their parents and other family members. So, it’s important to spend quality time with family to develop feelings of self-esteem and confidence
10. Reduces the Chance of Drug Use and Addiction
Drug abuse is more prevalent among teenagers, and this is so because it is at this point that they become emotionally aware and start to really feel things. They start coping with issues like anxiety, and sometimes depression. Drugs are an alternative to a more loving setting where they can share their fears and worries.
Spending quality time together as a family creates an environment of love that makes life easier to handle for teenagers or anyone going through tough times. This reduces the chances of resorting to drugs.
Teenagers who have loving parents and a supportive family are less likely to have big problems. And if they do, they understand that their parents are always there to offer support so they are less likely to resort to drugs for salvation or escape from their problems or frustrations.
Quality time is one of the strong pillars that uphold a family. It is very important to prioritize spending quality time with family to reap all the benefits discussed above.
There is no shortcut, it won’t happen without making deliberate efforts and plans. Try as much as possible to schedule family time to reap these benefits and keep your family together as a strong and unbreakable unit.