With the kids out of school, it’s easy for them to slip into a routine of sleeping too late, watching too much TV, and not getting out and about as much as they should. Summer is undoubtedly one of the best times for family to reconnect and relax. To hike the trails, hit the beaches, or picnic the parks. With its long, bright, sunny days and warm evenings, what better time is there to gather the family and take some time to celebrate Family Fun Month?
Recent studies suggest that “Family Time” is far more important than extracurricular activities. A study of more than 3,500 children found that quality family time and meal times together before the age of 12 are the single strongest predictors of better achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Family time becomes more important than school time, studying, sports, creative activities etc. when it comes to performing well and adjusting socially. Proven to positively contribute to a child’s academic success, parents should be attentively involved and frequently communicating with their children. Even with teens, with one of the largest studies ever carried out showed a strong association between regular family time and academic success, psychological adjustment, lower rates of alcohol and drug use, early sexual behavior and suicide risk. So, during “Family Month”, encourage family time and let your children decide on an activity or two to do together.
Here are a few suggestions for your family to enjoy:
1. Visit Your Local Park – When is the last time you and your family enjoyed a day at your local park? Visit for a picnic, play time or a bike ride. Enjoy the day outdoors together as a family! Everyone should be encouraged to leave the phones at home. Texting and connecting with friends, work or playing a quick game disrupts the quality time together.
2. Play Sports – Grab a ball, jump rope, a glove or a bat and go outside as a family to play some games. Don’t want to play your traditional types of sports? Try some fun games such as Around the World or Monkey in the Middle.
3. Book Night – You don’t always have to leave the house to have fun and family time. Take a trip to the local library and check out some books so you can huddle up with your family and read. You might want to include a longer novel where everyone can read a chapter or two, then have a snack, read a couple more, then talk about the book. Have a fun time with reading.
4. Go Camping – Pack up your tents, sleeping bags and canteens and book a weekend camping trip with the family. Do some fishing, hiking or biking wherever you end up going. It is a great time to spend with the whole family. For children even a day playing in the backyard with a tent and the possibility of sleeping in it at night is a wild adventure filled with imagination and fun!
6. Bake – Children always love to help out in the kitchen. Ask them what their favorite types of meals or treats are. Go to the store as a family to buy the ingredients and have some fun in the kitchen! This is also a good time to discuss ideas for school lunches and begin to build independence as they can make them on their own.
7. Game Night – Everyone loves games. Allow each family member chose their favorite board or card game and have the whole family join in on the fun. Surprise the family with a new game. Make some popcorn or buy some special game time snacks to enjoy while playing.
Just remember the purpose of Family Month is to enjoy spending time together as a family because a family that spends time together has a blast together!