Quality Family time in 2021


family time

Here we are – a new year, but for many, it probably feels far from a new you. With lockdown and restrictions seemingly getting tighter by the day, for many the start of this year is the bad continuation of last. However, in and amongst the doom, we need to find some light, and particularly a way to re-think what quality family time means for us this year and how we’ll get there. 

For many parents with school-aged children, the start of this year, in particular, has seen us go back to a less than ideal situation of homeschooling while also having to work. With that pressure point in mind it’s even more important that we use this year to claim back, and perhaps even reinvent what quality family time will be.

Here are 4 areas I think will help with that this year.

Finding the right ways to get outdoors

Yes we know we need to stay indoors in the main for the start of this year, and I’m not advocating breaking that policy. However, we also need to get out and about as a family. 

That might start as small trips to the park, or to play spaces where we can decompress, take walks, and have the quality of conversations that move us forward as a family.

Even those with smaller children can get out and about in new and creative ways. For instance, for those who love to get out on their bikes, get a good child bike trailer, and make your bike ride an adventure of exploration for the young children too!

Re-thinking the indoors

Because of the way many families have lived their lives in ‘normal’ times, we tend to see the home in very specific ways – a place we can relax, a place we laugh together, a place we sleep etc. Recently those things would have expanded to things like a place we educate,’ and in that way, we need to re-think our own home spaces too to get that everyday quality family time.

Homeschooling is hard enough, but having a dedicated work area for the kids is going to be vital to ensure they have a space that’s really focussed on their learning. That space might be right next to your workspace, or it may be in their own parts of the home, but wherever it is, find that place, and find the balance there that’s going to re-frame what certain parts of the home mean for the family.

Be flexible

Things are not going to always go to plan this year, or indeed any year. And you know what – that’s ok! It’s interesting that one of the skills many have reported us needing more of is a need for flexibility – not just as work, but across all areas of life, and in that regard, mental flexibility is going to be a great trigger of quality family time this year. 

It’ll help us truly realize what moments are there to maximize our quality family time, but also what moments may actually need to get taken up by something else.

Looking after yourself

Last but by no means least – all of the above is going to be even more difficult if you don’t look after yourself.

I think we’re all very good at trying to put others first. And many readers of this I’m sure can identify things today, yesterday, this week where they’ve been selfless already. 

But you’re not going to get the consistency of quality family time this year unless an important part of that family (aka you!) isn’t fully themselves. Have an honest conversation with yourself about what ‘me’ moments you need too. It might be a consistent routine that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t seen a way to get it done, it might be a new hobby? Whatever it is, put that right up on the list this year. It’ll only make for a happier you, which in turn equals a happier family. 

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