Encouraging family time

For most families, fall means waking up early with the kids away for most of the day, either at school, attending youth meetings or rushing to sports and band practice. Very little time is available to dedicate to family togetherness. This places a strain on everybody and often we start to feel some disconnect with our little ones.


I'm a proponent of weekending. In some families, dedicating a whole weekend to family time is impossible. Saturday is often eaten up with sports activities or errands no one could attend to during the week. If you have teens, it's impossible to keep them away from their friends on a Saturday evening. That's okay, successful weekending just needs one day. Sunday is often much more mellow so make that your dedicated family day.

Your style of weekending can vary. My family doesn't go to church so we have the whole day to ourselves. Everyone rolls out of bed at the time that feels best to them and we start off with a family breakfast that I try to make a treat. We might have an activity planned – a day of apple picking, cards and games at grandma's, or a hike. Other weekends we devote to board games, puzzles or watching cheesy movies. The point isn't so much what we do, but what we don't do.

We don't participate in anything that requires a regular Sunday commitment. We don't over schedule the day and we plan for plenty of downtime. We don't waste the day on chores or errands, we have another six days to worry about those things. We also take turns planning stuff to do as a family so everyone, from the oldest to the littlest, has a fair say.

Sure, the family dinner is a great way to stay connected, but in a busy family that isn't always possible. It's much easier to dedicate a day to family togetherness. If you're really busy and can't afford a full day just yet, focus on an evening, or afternoon. More time is better, but a little is better than none.