July 23, 2018
More Downtime: How You Can Ease Your Family into Togetherness
Written by Rachel Eddins
Family life can sometimes feel like you’re operating a daycare center or serving as a monitor in high school detention, especially in a city as busy as Houston. There are so many responsibilities and personalities to factor in. All of them can seem to be in conflict. As a result, family disconnection is increasingly more common. Finding ways to create more downtime can and does get lost in the shuffle. Simply getting each other’s attention these days is practically a full-time job. After that, how can we translate it to quality together time?
Why are More Downtime and Togetherness Important for your Family?
We can sit in the living room with a group of family members but not really be there. Thanks to all our devices, each of us are mentally somewhere else.
One day, you’ll look back. It won’t be the minor disagreements you remember. You won’t sit around and feel nostalgic about the time everyone was on the phone and didn’t say a word to each other. Together time, however, is where the seeds of future smiles are sown.
Studies show that family-time builds family self-esteem—especially for children. This is when important conversations can become possible and validation happens.
Habits are formed more easily than we might realize. As quickly as we become acclimated to hanging out with the family, we can make it a fun habit.
6 Ways You Can Ease Your Family into More Downtime and Togetherness
This may sound like creating more downtime to figure out how to create more downtime. Communication can come in many forms but here is where all the devices come in handy. Group text, email, chat—do whatever it takes to match up schedules!
Use the devices to plan. Turn off the devices when it’s together-time. In fact, put the devices in another room. You’ll get some pouts and frowns at first but soon enough, the natural vibe of face-to-face contact will shift the mood.
3. Plan it
It may sound corny but an old-fashioned “family night (or day)” is an ideal way to put togetherness on everyone’s calendar. For example, Jones Hall holds regular classical music concerts for family audiences. Once “Family Day or Night” gains momentum, it’s time plan a fun family vacation!
4. Sweat, create, cook together
Powerful bonds and memories are forged in such activities. These are not passive plans. Exercise or play a sport as a family. Get artsy and/or hit the kitchen together.
5. Eat and talk together
This is the big one. Sit down as a family to a meal. Use that time to talk and share and re-connect. It doesn’t have to be like a 1950s TV show. Do what comes naturally to your particular family. Divide duties if you wish (shopping, cooking, cleaning up afterward) but at mealtime, you’re a team.
6. Become the do-good family
It’s quite possible that nothing can unite people as much as joining together to help others in or around Houston by volunteering for an established program. At some point, talk as a family to find ways to create your own project. It could center around one issue or rotate through a variety of causes. Keep everyone involved and watch your connection grow!
Can Outside Help Make a Difference?
A disconnected family can sometimes reach a point where it needs more than a sit-down. Individual and family counseling are common and productive options for bridging the gap. Think about how a team works. They practice together and learn together and compete together. But they have a coach. A therapist can be like a coach to your family. Putting all of you in the position to connect and thrive.
Learn more about common family therapy goals.
Eddins Counseling Group offers family therapy to help your family feel more connected. Call us at 832-559-2622 for more information or book an appointment online.