Leon’s did a very cool social experiment called Project Smart Furniture where they tracked the amount of time family members spent in their living room. Using trackers for each person, Leon’s was able to get specific information based on each member of the family’s time spent near the couch in the living room. For example it tracked which family members spent time together in the living room and how many hours per day was spent together. When Leon’s shared their Project Smart Furniture outcomes, I was particularly bothered by one statistic- that 14% is the average amount of time that Canadian families spend together. Fourteen percent. I was really shocked at what a low percentage this is.
Watch the video to learn about Project Smart Furniture:
A lot of things in my life have changed over the past two years since my cancer diagnosis. It has really given me a chance to re-evaluate my life, the choices I make and want to make and what exactly I want to do accomplish in my life. And what do I want to do? Make memories with my family. To me it is the most important. I want my kids to look back on their childhood and have warm memories of us doing great things together. And by great I don’t mean expensive. I mean that we are making new wonderful memories together just by being together.
So what am I doing about this? I’m insistent on making the change to ensure that my family isn’t a statistic that I don’t want to be. So these 5 things are what we are doing to make sure that we are above the 14%.
1- Schedule time in your calendar for family time
It sounds crazy doesn’t it that you have to schedule quality family time together? But, if you think about plans you make with friends, it doesn’t seem so crazy after all. When you speak to a friend and make plans, you both agree on a date and time that works best for the two of you. You may also agree on where to meet in advance as well. It should be no different for family time. If your schedule doesn’t regularly allow for family time due to a variety of circumstances, schedule it. So that’s what we are doing!
Choose a day or night of the week that works best. Write it down and block that time off. Sure schedules may change, but just like scheduling social plans, if they change, re-book.
2- Rotate who chooses the activities
The best way to keep everyone in the family involved with quality time is to give each person a chance to choose an activity for the family. As a parent, it’s so easy to dictate and choose what we should be doing. By giving each person a chance to choose, activities are fresh and exciting for all! It also gives a chance for each member to share a special interest with others or try something new! While my husband would choose for all of us to go skating together, my kids may choose to play a game, or go for a walk to the park. The best part is, there is no wrong choice. The goal is for us to be together.
3- No technology
This is hard. I’m not going to lie. But if I’m on my phone, how can I expect my kids not to want to be playing on their iPad’s? By setting an example and putting my phone away it’s easier for them to put theirs away too. I’ve found by putting my phone in another room and asking the kids to follow suit, has worked well. Even though it is hard, it has proven to be a much more interactive experience for all of us!
4- Get the kids involved in cooking
Whether it’s cooking brunch or Princess Peach’s favourite taco night meal, get the kids involved in cooking. It’s a great opportunity to connect, talk and work together. The best part is that everyone is home and involved in preparing the meal, you ca all enjoy it together. Nightly dinners may not be possible, but by planning out when you can have a meal together, provides an opportunity to connect.
5- Once in a while plan a big excursion
When you are choosing the activities you want to do with your family, they don’t need to be big, or expensive. But, once in a while it’s so nice to do a bigger excursion. Maybe it’s going to a certain festival, or getting out of the city for the day, it’s nice for a change of scenery and to spend a lot of time together doing something new and exciting! For my family, we make a yearly trip to the Maple Syrup festival. We all enjoy it, love spending the time outside and have made it a tradition that we all look forward to.
So these are the things that my family is doing to try not to be a statistic. It’s hard, but by being aware and make an effort I’m hoping that we can create lots of wonderful memories together. As the saying is, the days are long, but the years are short. Before I know it my kids will be moving out of the house and I want them to look back on their childhood with warm, wonderful memories of special time spent together.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions are my own.