Hectic lifestyles, too much to do and too little time and exhaustion, plain and simple can easily get in the way of having fun together as a family. Growing up as a child of the 60s, I never had that problem. I lived in a joint family with my Grandma, Uncles and Aunts and Mom. Yes, we had, at any point in time, at least 15 people sitting down to dinner together. Sundays were spent relaxing together, listening to music, playing board games or cards, or going out on picnics, or visiting friends and family.
Today, however, it is more of a challenge to:
a/ find the time
b/ spend that time together what with family members each bound to their own schedules.
We’ve hacked that challenge in our family. How, you ask? Why, I am about to tell you!
First, we sat ourselves down together with an agenda, some snacks and some milkshakes and coffees. Seriously. Our goal was to find ways to spend more time together.
Without going into the gory details of our discussion, which ranged from hilarious to tear-inducing laughter and lots of silly jokes, here’s what we came up with:
Dinner together every night at 8
This is possible for us as we are all home by 8. Well, I work from home, so that was cool. Husband home by 6 or latest 7. We enjoy dinner together and this segues into clearing up and washing up together. Plenty of laughter and teasing ensues and we love it. It also makes sure we eat at least two hours before we head to bed.
Watch comedy shows and movies
Some days, we just let the dishes be and settle down to watch a comedy show we all like. It is a great way to relax together after an extra-long and stressful day. Just one hour is all it takes to feel refreshed again.
Listen to music, sing
All of us love music and enjoy listening together, singing together. My son learns music and practices regularly. I love the days when we remember a song and end up listening to a playlist and sing along.
Yes, play! We love playing games. Everything from snakes and ladders, word games, chess and Chinese checkers to quiz, listing ten things about a topic, making collages together, 20 questions and song tag. If you’re wondering what song tag is, let’s say I sing a song. When I stop, you must sing a song that begins with the last syllable of my song. This is so much fun!
Nothing like taking a walk with the family! Now this might sound mundane, but it is not. A walk on our terrace is wonderful with guaranteed sighting of different types of birds, a glorious sunset and plenty of fresh air. Yes, if we wish, we can also carry some chalk and make the red-tiled floor our canvas.
Visit the lake nearby
We are blessed with a lake that is just a 20 minute walk away from our place. It is a beautiful place with a walking rink around it bordered with pretty flowering bushes. The lake has lots of ducks that are pleasing to watch.
Get together with friends and neighbors
We live in a great community and have a resident’s club in our apartment complex. We get together on special occasions and festivals, organizing cultural programs. It is a fun group effort that we all enjoy participating in. Every other weekend, we meet up with friends and go on picnics or simply chill at each other’s place after lunch or dinner.
See? So easy and pressure free. We simply used our routine into family time. How do you plan your family fun nights?