Prioritizing fun as a family

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:07 p.m. ET

Most families live a very busy lifestyle. Parents work long hours and kids are consumed by school and extracurricular activities. Sometimes we end up neglecting one thing that is very important -- family fun. Read on to find out why you should make fun as a family a priority.

family outside having fun

The benefits of fun

Fun family activities are more than just enjoyable — they also provide bonding time and can benefit the emotional and physical well-being of everyone in the family. People who take time out for fun are happier and more relaxed in life. Family time can enhance bonding and boost kids' self-esteem as well. Make room in your hectic schedule for a fun family activity every week, if possible.

Declutter your schedule

Many parents think they don't have hours in the day to spend more fun time with their kids. Think again. You just need to make fun a priority. Most of us are overscheduled these days — often with activities and events that we don't really care about or enjoy. Yes, we all need to go to work and school, but you don't have to sign your kids up for every sport, volunteer for every committee or accept every social invite. Declutter your calendar and start saying "no" to things that don't really matter. This will allow you to make room on your schedule for fun with your kids.

Unplug from technology

The internet is amazing, but it can also suck away your valuable time and isolate family members from each other. Place screen time limits on computers, smart phones, televisions and video games for your kids and for yourself. By reducing tech time, you'll open up a lot more quality time to spend together.

Mark it down

Set aside a few hours every week for family fun time. Mark it on your calendar and consider it an important appointment — because it is! Don't bump your plans with family off your calendar just because you want to put in some extra hours at work. Only cancel your family time if a true emergency arises.

Green family fun:
Get back to nature and go on a hike with your family. You can also take your kids to the local farmers market or head to a pick-your-own farm to pick seasonal fruits and veggies.

Try something new

Going to the local park or your favorite family restaurant can be a lot of fun. However, you should also try some new activities together as a family. Think of yourself as a tourist in your city. Explore areas, landmarks and attractions that you've never visited. Learn about the history of your city and community. You can also attend outdoor concerts, discover unusual eateries and visit museums. If you are feeling a little adventurous, take skiing lessons together or go on a hot air balloon or helicopter ride over the city.

Daily doses of fun

Incorporate small doses of fun into your life every day. For example, playing a board game together, making seasonal crafts or taking a walk around the neighborhood after dinner can be a fun, free activity that brings your family closer together as a unit.

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5 Everyday ways to bring your family closer
6 Reasons to start your morning 30 minutes earlier