Family. It can be really hard work sometimes, no matter the size. Bossing a household and trying to direct kids around after a hard day at work can really take its toll. That’s the time we need to spend relaxing! Everyone in the household should find the time to settle down and enjoy life and sometimes we are all guilty of taking it for granted.
Now, An important part of parenting is actually allowing yourself and your family to live and enjoy their lives. The world is rushing by us all at a blazing pace and we need to find the time to enjoy at least a little portion of that time that is flying by us so fast.
There are important reasons for this as well. Stress is a killer and even though we can’t help our jobs from being stressful, we can do little things with our actions that reduce this for us. Believe it or not, your kids are probably going through a great deal stress at school.
Kid’s Health took a look at the stresses of school. They took a survey of 600 kids, and this is what was returned to them:
“One-third said they worry most about schoolwork. No surprise there. You’ll be studying more advanced material, so it’s natural to worry about whether you’ll do OK. But not everyone said schoolwork was their biggest worry. Just as many people said, they worry most about social issues like fitting in, having friends, being judged, or being teased. Since social life is such a big part of school, it’s not a shock that social issues are the biggest worry for some people.”
“Besides schoolwork and social stuff, another category ranked high on the worry list: appearance. One-fourth of the people who responded to our survey said appearance issues worried them most of all.”
Stress? It’s a never-ending cycle. You get worked up at school, worked up at home and worked up at work. Home time means relaxing. It’s worrying that everyone returns to the home with a fuse that is ready to blow, though.
It’s a familiar scene, you pick the kids up from school, ask them how it went and go your separate ways once you enter the door. Sometimes, that’s ok – but you’re a family, not a group of flatmates. Maybe we should look at how we can integrate hobbies so all the family can enjoy the same activity and relax together?
Firstly, assess what your family enjoys. Maybe you and your daughter might enjoy soccer while your son and wife love films. It’s probably best that you split the family up for this one! If you’re all into board games, start a board game night. It’s really simple to get started – after all you should be the expert on you and your family! Hobbies are a great way of relaxing, and if you pick the right ones, it could be a great way to bond. You don’t have to do what you enjoy alone.
A movie night is probably the easiest thing to do. Pick, or allow your kids to pick, two films for a set night of the week. Their responsibility could be to pick the snacks if they aren’t watching the film. It’s a great way to get together and let the stress flow away. Also, this isn’t the right time to be a critic – just sit back and enjoy it. It’s not like you are ever going to run out of movies as well, since you’ve got an enormous back catalog of pictures to choose from, along with Hollywood’s latest releases.
Movies can move over for sports on the weekend – it’s pretty likely that a good portion of your family follow and support the local teams, so set aside some time to relax and watch the big games together as a Sunday chill session. Making rituals like a sports Sunday or a weekly movie night are two of the easiest ways you can find that will act as hobbies for the entire family
What about video games? Minecraft, FIFA, Madden and others are some of the most popular games our families play and all of the above come with multiplayer options so that two or more players can enjoy the same game. A competitive streak can be a good thing on the sports games, but don’t overdo it – you don’t want to annoy your kids. Gaming consoles can be expensive, but maybe the whole family can get together and save for one to enjoy? There are additions like Playstation VR that can enhance the video game experience to new levels, but it’s going to set you back!
We are always looking for ways to help our kids get, and stay, healthy. Sports are a great way to combine all of the above into a neat little package. Anything ranging from swimming to golf are sports that the family can enjoy. Sports offer a lot of rewards, from allowing your kids to let off steam, to showing off in front of the family. You might want to stock up on a few golf trophies, though – to let your little Rory McIlroy’s know that they are the champs. Seriously though, sporting rewards like medals and trophies can go a long way to boosting the self-confidence of your children, so help them excel at the sports they are interested in.
However, there’s a small caveat with sports. A disturbing trend of over-coached children is emerging. Psychology Today ran with a story about Julie that you should probably take a full look at. There’s a small quote from the article that you need to see, though:
“Julie hadn’t even gotten her first training bra. But she had already developed a sports-related injury. She had been swimming competitively since the age of five. She had a shelf full of ribbons and trophies, and by her seventh birthday, her coaches had moved her up to a higher team level. Sounds exciting, right? Not so much. Julie was expected to attend practice four days a week, and swim meets most weekends–year round. Fast forward a few years to fifth grade: Julie, now a busy eleven-year-old, has lots of friends, solid academics–and no complaints. Well, almost no complaints. She has stuck with the swim team. Only now she’s expected to practice six days a week. Sometimes she and her family travel for hours to meets, which are held most Saturdays and Sundays almost every month of the year.”
Six days a week of practice? That’s dedication to be admired, but don’t let your little stars burn so brightly that they fade away. Rest is important, so make sure that if your youngsters are training hard, that they are also resting and playing hard. Sport is primarily a hobby and everyone, including overzealous coaches could do better to remember that.
The most important part of all this, apart from finding a hobby that can be shared, is to make sure everyone is having fun. Don’t drag your kids along adventures that you know they will not enjoy. Find out about their likes and interests and try to mould the group hobbies around them. You should look after yourself, of course, but the focus might not be on you this time around…