With some organisation and great intentionality, you’ll find that there are lots of ways dads can maximise their time and create time for their kids and family.
Here are 7 ways you can achieve this.
1. Reason With Your Spouse, And Children If They’re Grown.
Talk to your family to learn what they like to do and schedule a few days where you can all spend time together as a family.
You probably already have an idea of what your family might consider fun but hobbies and tastes change over time.
Basically, your kids or spouse might have a new hobby that you could all enjoy as a family.
Maybe there are even some things your partner would like to do but haven’t had the opportunity to try yet.
Ahead of this, work circumspectly and find ways you can save time on your work, maybe by taking care of emails and projects early in the morning before your family rises, or late at night after they are asleep.
Making time for your kids and family comes with emphasis on staying organised and prioritising your time both at home and at work.
2. Prioritise Your Time
Organise your obligations into “Do,” “Don’t Do,” and “Delegate”.
Instead of trying to do it all, figure out which office/household tasks need to be done (your “Do” list), and which can wait (your “Don’t Do” list).
If there are things you could get your partner, your kids, or a paid hand to do – washing the dishes, walking the dog, and so on – separate them into your “Delegate” list.
This will help balance out your family’s time in such a way that you all have the ability to spend more time together, instead of you and/or your partner taking on a disproportionate amount of housework.
Remember to be realistic and honest when evaluating your time. It won’t help to add something to your “Do” list just because you feel guilty.
Organise your work tasks too, so that you can identify which things need doing and which you can delegate to a colleague.
3. Organise Your Things
You can lose a lot of time that could have been spent with your family searching for misplaced keys, remote controls, and other essential belongings.
Choose a convenient location for your keys, wallet or purse, and your glasses.
Get in the habit of placing these essential items – especially the ones you seem to lose frequently – in the same place every day.
For example, you might choose to always put your glasses by the bedside, and your keys by the door.
4. Adopt Family-time Goals
If you’re the type of person who rises to a challenge, you might benefit from trying to set and meet unique family-related goals.
You could set a minimum amount of time to spend with your family each week – for instance, 15 hours.
Or you could try a qualitative goal like making your child/spouse smile at dinner.
Feel free to change your family-time goals regularly to keep the contest fresh and do not set yourself up for failure with larger-than-life goals.
Focus on smaller, more specific goals to start so that you don’t feel like you’re underachieving.
For instance, you could start with a simple goal like, “Today I’m going to spend 15 minutes with my kids.”
And remember, the quality of your commitment is usually more important than the quantity.
Try to unplug when you’re at home in place of checking emails, working on projects, and texting friends or coworkers when you’re home: put your phone off and shut down your computer.
This way, your wife and kids will get your undivided attention.
This is especially important during family meals and outings.
You can resume using your computer and phone in the early hours of the morning, when your kids and partner are asleep.
5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Never fall into the category of people who get discouraged because they think, “I could never maximize my family time in the way that my neighbour does.
”This is defeatist thinking and will not help you maximize your family time.
“In place of this, organise your time as well as possible without passing judgment on yourself.”
At the end of the day, nobody can spend all their time with their family. It’s only according to the amount of time each individual can afford.
6. Carry Everyone Along
Getting your family on board is vital because maximizing family time only works if everyone is working to increase the amount of time you spend together.
Encourage your kid(s) to limit their extracurricular activities to one or two per term/semester.
Work with your partner to improve their time-management and adopt the same measures that you do in order to maximise family time.
Say to your kids, “Please keep your afterschool activities to one or two per school term so that we have more family time.”
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Say to your spouse, “I’m reducing my screen time, organising my things, and finding other ways to maximize my family time.
I’d like for you to help you do the same.
Let’s work together to achieve this.”
Carrying everyone along also means ensuring you’re in that time, doing activities they are excited to be doing.
Sure, everyone gets together on holidays, but you should aim to spend at least one night each week with your family.
For example, you could make Friday nights for pizza and card games with your kids.
Ensure everyone in the family is participating by forbidding phones and other screens during the designated family time. Other activities your family might enjoy include:
Dining out at a new restaurant together, seeing a new movie together, going for a family bike ride, having a Sunday brunch together, etc.
7. Have A Scheduled Family Time
Have an agreed family time, and have it scheduled.
Calendars/personal planners are great for organising time in a structured way.
Many people assume that because spending time with the family is not a formal obligation, it doesn’t need its own spot on the calendar.
But the reality is that if you don’t assign a specific time for hanging out with your family, you might let it slip through the cracks.
To maximise your family time therefore, set aside a few hours each day for them.
Block time for specific family events as well as general ‘family time’ when filling out your planner or calendar.
Schedule date nights at specific venues and restaurants, and plan on going to specific football games or fairs with your kids.
Consider using automatic reminders in your phone or email to stay on top of your scheduled family time.
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