How to prioritise time with your family

What you need to know:

  • In a nutshell, be committed to regular family time if you have very challenging schedules. 

Maintaining a good work-life balance and creating time for your loved ones sometimes may be the hardest, especially where you have very tight schedules with competitive tasks.

Also, parenting comes with a lot of challenging responsibilities yet our desire is to make it our primary role. It is worse when the two of you work and don’t get home early enough. At some point, you plan your time but other demands crop in that dictate much attention.

Amid all such circumstances and in your busy schedule, taking time with your family; wife, children, parents, and siblings, should remain your number one priority. 

Even when you plan and other issues disrupt your schedule, be flexible and plan for another time. When it comes to parenting, it’s intentional and, therefore, you have to choose and be deliberate to create time for them.
There are other people who are not yet parents or married. They too have families. They are also busy and have no time for their families. There is no physical connection between them and their siblings or parents. They may even be staying under the same roof, but they hardly meet each other because they get home late and leave very early in the morning. Some are physically present but socio-emotionally unavailable. You too need to create time for your family. You need them as they need you.

Why family time? It is the time you show that you love them and care. A family is the longest group of people you can have that can stand with you in all circumstances without complaining or running away from you. 
It gives you the cognitive and emotional benefit of contact with your children, provides security and safety, and you are able to observe the family members’ behaviour and know how to handle them.  You learn from each other easily. You are also trying to avoid the statement that “out of sight, out of mind.”

Prioritising your family is what motivates you to be a good parent and raise a loving and responsible generation, while also securing your future. Remember, what you sow today is what you will reap tomorrow. Your absence from your family members today, especially children, may be the same portion that you may reap at some point.

It is good for you, especially as a parent, to plan for mealtime and eat together as a family. It is a moment you can reflect on many good things and have nice conversations and fun at that dining table.

Attend functions with your spouse and children. This is another way to shave off the stressful moments you have anywhere. It makes a difference how much time you spend talking with your members while driving or being driven.

Now that it is holiday time, you can plan to take leave from work, especially if your schedule is always tight. You can take off a few days and maximize that moment with your family. Put  electronics out of reach to reduce interference. Focus on your loved ones at that moment. If it is time for your spouse, don’t let the children disrupt the programme.

Your children may have a holiday package. When you are at home, help them to do it. Please ensure you make that moment creative and lovely so that they always look forward to having that time with you. 

If you live a long distance away and are unable to see them in person on a regular basis, a phone or video call, or a text message can help bridge the gap. They should feel your presence at any time. Create that schedule for a call at a time convenient to you to talk with laxity.

Pray with your family. This makes you bond. We also know that prayer is not only communication with God but therapy itself in many ways. It gives you an opportunity to express your anxiety to your God. You are able to share prayer requests and learn to know the priority of each family member at a given period of time.

You may have gadgets that engage your family members for a long time, and hardly get time for each other to talk. This can be moderated so that there is time for everything.

In a nutshell, be committed to regular family time if you have very challenging schedules. 

Dickson Tumuramye
Child advocate, parenting coach,  and marriage counsellor,

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