How to Schedule Family Time
As families grow and mature, they all face the same essential problem: with all of the different schedules, how do we spend time together? More importantly, how does the family spend time together on a regular basis?
The divergent nature of scheduling is inevitable in a family. Each member will have their own interests and obligations to fulfill. If you take a close look at your own family’s schedules, you’ll see that there’s actually very little overlap of time when you can “guarantee” that every member is available. In fact, you might be surprised at how getting your family together is just as difficult as pulling together a meeting at work.
Consider, for a moment, what reserving an hour or two weekly for your family to spend time together would be like. You could play a game, go on an adventure, pray, anything really. Regular, scheduled family time does two things. First, it’s a real memory builder! If done consistently, your children will remember this time their entire lives. Even better, when they have families of their own, they might seek to incorporate it into their own family’s life. Second, it emphasizes to all members of your family that it’s important to spend time together regularly. This is a win-win.
Family time is important, and none of us would disagree with that statement. What’s challenging is moving beyond the theoretical, “my family needs to spend time together” to the reality of “my family spends time together every week."
Scheduling and implementing a weekly dedicated family time is hard to do and requires a lot of advanced planning. Some members of your family will be asked to sacrifice part or all of an activity for the sake of the family. That sacrifice goes to the heart of the matter: this time together is so richly important that we need to be ready to quit something so that we can make it happen.
Once you’ve sat down with your wife, reviewed the schedules, and selected a weekly “safe” time, it’ll be time for you to announce the new activity to your family. There may be some grumbling or open revolt in the ranks of your kids. You’re declaring a weekly hour to be sacred, immovable, and mandatory, which means they’re going to have to flex. There should be few (if any) exceptions made. So, if your weekly family time is Saturday at 2pm and your son wants to sign up for a play that has practice during that time, he’s not going to be able to be in that particular production.
Believe it or not, there’s a benefit to your kids when they have to pass on an activity because of Weekly Family Time. You’re helping them learn the important life lesson of time prioritization. There have been many times in my life when I’ve been unable to do something that I wanted to because a more important activity was going on at a particular time. By having this experience as a kid, your children will be better time managers in their adulthood.
Putting all of this into practice is going to be a real challenge for you and your wife to implement. Yet, you both recognize how important it is for your family to be together. So pick the best, safest time, work with your kids, and then plan to have amazing weekly family time.