Don’t Let The Sun Set On Your Family Evenings

Everyone’s surely agreed that working parents deserve medals. You super mums and dads are quite literally burning the candle at both ends, and for the most part, you’re doing an amazing job. In fact, you’re effectively working two full-time positions!

That’s no easy task. In fact, with just a set number of hours in the day, it can often seem like an impossibility. Inevitably, that means that some things fall by the wayside, and those compromises tend to happen at home. 

The sad fact is that it’s all too easy to slip into time-wasting habits that mean the time you do get to spend with your kids isn’t as valuable as you’d like. That’s nothing to beat yourself up about, but it might well be something you’d like to change. 

We’re sorry to say that we don’t have a time machine, which would really be the best solution. What we do have is a few organization pointers that mean your evenings can be as productive as your workdays, just in a different way. 

Image by Nathan Dumlao: CC0 License

 

1) Eat earlier

Meals form a large part of any family evening, and so they should. Research has shown time and again that making an effort to uphold family mealtimes is a fantastic way to implement positive food patterns. What’s more, there’s nothing quite like a natter around the table for catching up. That said, if you aren’t careful, said mealtime can take up what feels like the entire evening, leaving you with little time to unwind with the family. 

The solution here is simple, and it comes down to moving that mealtime forward a little. After all, if you don’t eat until seven, you’ll likely spend the evening until that point in the kitchen. Then, before you know it, the kids will head to bed. That’s terrible news for your home life, and it simply doesn’t need to happen.

By instead moving mealtimes forward, you ensure that you can kick back in the living room with everyone else. And, all you need do to make that possible is think about making family mealtimes more efficient with options like pre-planning, meal prep, and even a cheeky freezer selection sometimes. 

 

Let chores wait until tomorrow

Chores are the enemy of any parent, working or not. Add a day job to the equation, and it’s not surprising that many of us turn our attention to basics like polishing, vacuuming and more once the sun sets. The trouble is that, if you’re cleaning the house, you aren’t spending time with the kids. And, it doesn’t take a genius to work out which priority should take precedence. 

Of course, that’s not to say you can scrap chores altogether. Aside from posing a fair few health risks, a dirty house is bound to do your head in within a week of throwing caution to the wind. Rather, changing the time in which you tackle chores could work wonders. 

The fact is that you don’t need to do all your chores in the evening. Some things, such as vacuuming, will obviously need to wait until everyone’s awake. For the most part, though, waking up an hour or even half an hour before everyone else each day is all it takes to get this right. That way, you get a headstart, have a clean house, and still have your evenings free to enjoy the family you work so hard to keep happy.

Take tech out of the equation

Technology has done a lot of great things for our lifestyles, especially with regards to learning and communications. But, it’s not unusual for families to waste their quality evenings staring at a screen. Luckily most parents do realize the damage this can cause their kids, but it’s surprising how few extend that thinking to their own usage. Just like that, you’ve got a situation where parents are glued to their phones instead of their families.

To get the most out of your evenings, it’s therefore worth putting a tech ban across the household after a certain time. That’s not to say that you should scrap tech altogether, but something like an ‘only before mealtime’ rule ensures you don’t miss out on each other. With that mealtime moving forward, you’ll especially be able to feel the benefits here. 

Set aside a drawer or storage container in which to dump all those phones at this point, and make sure to switch off televisions or laptops. It’s amazing how long your time together will feel without these distractions in place. A word of warning, it might feel strange for everyone at first, but you’ll soon start to find a few more wholesome evening activities to keep you entertained. 

Focus on things you can do together

Speaking of keeping yourselves entertained, the last pointer on this list is to find things that you can do together. An evening of disjointed activities is simply never going to lead to the satisfaction of a quality evening well spent. Rather, you’ll fall into the trap of living in the same household while barely communicating with each other. 

Make sure that doesn’t happen by forever finding activities that you can do together. There are many options you could choose here, and each is bound to be worth your while. Reading is an obvious top choice, especially when you consider the importance of reading aloud to your child on an educational level. Equally, something like a good board game, or even a programme you all love pre-tech watershed would work wonderfully. You could even get stuck in with some family crafts and learn new skills together, a sure way to strengthen those bonds. 

 

You aren’t alone if you’ve been letting your evenings pass you by without some much-needed family time. We all get into bad habits now and again, and your busy lifestyle is almost certainly to blame. But, it isn’t difficult to make the most of family evenings at last. Simply implement these pointers, and watch your time at home grow into something spectacular.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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