Spending dedicated, distraction-free time with your family is more important than ever. No matter how busy our lives get, it is important to carve out time in our days to nurture the bond we have with our family members.
One of the ways to build your family’s bond is through a family hobby that every family member can enjoy. Did you know that when a family enjoys a hobby together, their children do better in school, communicate better, build self-esteem, and develop more positive behaviors? Pretty neat, right?
As parents, we are often distracted by our phones which can hold us back from enjoying valuable moments with our children. The use of smartphones distracts us from cultivating feelings of connection when spending time with our children. Engaging in a family hobby can be a powerful way to reconnect with your family while creating beautiful lasting memories.
Why Family Hobbies Are Important
Positive parent-child experiences create a stronger family bond and positively impact children's long-term mental health and resilience. Whether it's a physical activity, art, or music, the activity works to fine-tune a part of the child’s development. If it's physical, it works to strengthen their core through balance and coordination. If it’s music, it hones their ability to focus and develop rhythm and timing. If it’s art, it works on their fine motor coordination, focus, attention, and sequencing. All family hobbies are a great way to build confidence in your children and yourself and nurture the family bond.
It Builds Self-Esteem
Letting your children take the lead on choosing a family hobby is a fun way to support their interests and tune into what brings them joy. It is a great way to give them a boost of confidence. You may find their interests quite diverse, and you might just learn something new!
It Strengthens Relationships
Commit to setting the phones aside and focusing on each other for the duration of the family hobby. A survey revealed that 62% of kids say their parents are distracted when kids are trying to talk to them, with cell phones being a major offender. It’s time to disconnect to reconnect–quality time strengthens relationships.
Don’t Discount Routine Activities
Any time with your family can be quality time. A great example of this is the daily commute! Families with children between the busy ages of 4 and 16 can attest that many hours are spent driving to and from activities. This is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones.
According to a survey by carpooling service HopSkipDrive, 51% of parents spend more than five hours a week driving their kids around—and 13% devote more than 10 hours per week to shuttling duties.
There are so many fun and creative ways to engage your children during the long carpool hours including playing music, listening to books or podcasts, singing songs, playing “eye spy,” or waving at cars. Any game that causes you and your child to interact purposefully is beneficial.
While transporting your family members from one activity to another may not appear to be a hobby, it is an excellent use of time to engage in quality interaction on the way to their hobby. It shows them that you are interested in their lives, delight in them, and support them.
How to Choose a Family Hobby
Take family bonding one step further, and choose a family hobby to do together. Choosing a family hobby doesn’t need to be stressful. Consider the hobbies you each have individually, and decide whether any of them could be adapted for the whole family. Does someone in the family already enjoy hiking? Great! Plan a trail hike, pack the snack bags, and head out the door. What about biking? That’s a great option, too. You and your family may have different interests, and that’s OK. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Family hobbies are fun and can always be changed if one doesn’t work out. Here are some of the things you should consider as you begin brainstorming your list of family hobbies:
-Age appropriate: Children can get tired quickly. A weekend-long trek up a mountain range may sound like a great adventure, but the average toddler, or even five-year-old, isn’t so inclined. Opt for shorter-duration activities or ones that do not require advanced skills. Consider hobbies that involve art or music, for example.
-Scalable: Your hobby can be able to grow with your family. Short bike rides around the neighborhood are great while your children are younger and scalable as they grow. Longer distance or more advanced treks, bike rides, or hikes are perfect for families to grow into.
-Affordable: Because hobbies are repeatable activities, have them fit in your budget. A trip to Disney is a great family activity, but it isn’t a hobby. Family hobbies like painting, puzzles, or playing sports in the park on the weekend are low cost.
-Make it fun: Hobbies should be fun and engaging for everyone. Turn up the fun by singing songs with your family, playing a game of “I spy with my little eye,” listening to a book or podcast together, or including a fun reward at the end of a game to entice your kids.
No matter what hobby you choose as a family, the important thing is that it brings you together.
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