Life is busy – especially for a parent or caretaker who can have many stressors thrown their way. From running children to school activities, planning meals, helping them with homework and daily tasks, caregivers have a daily to-do list that never seems to end. Often, the fun activities in life get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. When this happens, I encourage caregivers to take a few minutes to complete the following activity adapted from the “Together Facing the Challenge” curriculum.
Identify a few minutes of time to sit down as a family with a piece of paper and a pen. This may be a mealtime, before bed, or when you are in the car. Ask one family member to be the note taker and have them make a quadrant like below:
Take three minutes and have family members brainstorm as many ideas as they can and place each idea in its corresponding quadrant. Thank your children for helping and let them know they can always come to you with new ideas for family fun time!
Narrowing It Down
Later, either by yourself or with your partner, consider barriers to family fun. Is it that you are always tired? Are you stretched thin financially? Are your children’s schedules too busy and leave very little room for family fun?
Once you have barriers identified, it is time to come up with solutions. Maybe family fun could happen on Saturday mornings instead of waiting until all the tasks of the day are done; or you can choose activities in the “little money” categories for this season of life. Investigate where pockets of quality time can be created. Something as simple as a quick walk or bike ride around the block can create an opportunity to bond together. Your children will not care about how much money is spent or how extravagant your activity is, but rather that they have your undivided time and attention.
This blog was contributed by Sonja Stang, Mental Health Therapist at Nexus-PATH.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.