08/10/20: Now that August has arrived, most parents and caregivers are rushing around trying to decide the best option for going back to school, rounding up school supplies, and simply trying to navigate this “new normal”. Although August is traditionally “Back to School Month”, it’s also National Family Fun Month!
Research has proven that there are many benefits that come along with family time. Some of these include: stronger family bonds, improved academic performance in children, less behavioral problems, lower chances of drug use/abuse, and it helps kids develop positive parenting skills they will use in the future. All of these benefits are directly tied to the five protective factors. According to the Center for the Study of Social Policy, these are characteristics that have been shown to make positive outcomes more likely for young children and their families, and to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. When these factors are put in place, children are given the tools to thrive and they can reap the benefits listed above.
These times we are in are not easy and no decision seems certain. As we prepare for school, fall sports, programs, and activities, don’t forget to schedule in some fun family time. It could be something as simple as cooking a meal and sitting down at the table together, or you could plan an entire weekend to explore your surroundings!
It’s never too early to start working in family fun time with your children. Maybe this is a concept that your family isn’t familiar with, you’ve recently acquired children through foster care or adoption, or you need to fill extra time created by the recent pandemic situation. Start small. Plan for a picnic in your yard or play a game after supper. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture for it to be impactful. Whether your child is 2, 12, or 20, they will simply appreciate the time you carved out of your busy schedule just for them.