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Early Years

The importance of family time

Tamara Keenan
Tamara Keenan (1 post) Head of Early Years View Profile

In today’s busy world spending time as a family can often be extremely challenging.

However, it is not impossible. Research shows that ‘family time’ is an important ingredient in the development of all children from 0 to 18 and even beyond. Not only does it create lifelong bonds, connections and embed lifelong memories, it also helps families cope with challenges and stressful situations, instills children with self - confidence and security and inculcates family values. Some scientists even accredit it with lengthening lives.

The main reason why family time is important is that each and every one of us needs to develop ties and bond with their family in order to develop a sense of belonging and security. Children especially need to have someone that they can turn to and look up to, for anything. Someone they can talk to and share their thoughts, feelings and insecurities with. So why not plan in some family time during the upcoming school holidays, create fun times together, talk to each other, and build some memories.

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Ways to spend time together as a family

•            Share a meal together without the distraction of television or cell phones - Talk to each other and learn about what is happening in your children’s lives. Get to know them better.

•            Wash the family car – Good for sensory exploration. Let your children feel the water and bubbles, and brushes and towels as well as smell the soap. Talk about the different sensations they are experiencing. 

•            Go on a walk together – Teach your children good habits to last a lifetime. Talk while you walk and learn something new about each other.

•            Engage in a family competition – Have an art contest. Take some crayons, markers, paper, glue, tape and some odds and ends from around the house. When you involve your kids in a group task, you encourage feelings of self-esteem and competence.

•            Watch a movie together - Pick your favourite movie or series, make some popcorn and cuddle up. Talk about the movie after it has finished to address any questions or confusions your children may have.

•            Bake cookies together – Find a favourite recipe and collect all the ingredients. Work together to weigh, mix and bake the ingredients. Teach your children an important life skill, as well as the math concepts of measuring, and the communication and language concepts of reading and following instructions.

•            Build a fort – Work together as a team to create a fort as unique as your family. Read stories, share memories or even have a tea party in the fort.

Children grow up and move out of home before you realise it, so do not waste the time you have now, and spend it with your family. Remember, that strong families can withstand setbacks and crisis with a positive attitude, shared values, and beliefs that help them cope with challenges.

Co-written by Sarah Magee, Pre-Nursery Teacher at NAIS Pudong.