Sun | Sep 22, 2019

Quality time is a must

Published:Sunday | August 18, 2019 | 12:05 AMJessica Harrison - Gleaner Writer

Family, we don’t get to choose them but somehow, no matter how bad things get, they still happen to have a special place in our hearts. For the most part, they accept and love us, despite our flaws, and are usually the first set of people to come to the rescue when life throws us disruptive curve balls. Spending more time with family leads to the development of healthy emotional bonds which, in turn, offers a sense of belonging and security.

Now that you have the ‘why’, let’s get into the proven benefits of quality family time:

- Decrease in behavioural problems: The home is where a child receives his/her first exposure to socialisation. Spending quality time together means having to work as a team and resolve issues when they arise. What they practise at home is usually what they will exercise when they leave the gates of the safe space.

- Stress relief: We can pull at straws to explain the design plan of families and why, after spending a good deal of time with them, we suddenly feel some amount of emotional wellness, but studies have proven that family time lowers stress hormones and increases the levels of ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain.

- Less isolation: While anyone can be in a room filled with people and still feel lonely, studies have shown that spending time in a familiar, non-judgemental space can improve feelings of depression and loneliness.

Let’s Spend Time

Outlook understands that times are hard and the average family in Jamaica cannot afford to go on a week-long family vacation overseas, so we compiled a few everyday inexpensive activities that could be used as family time.

- Dinner and a movie: Most people sit in front of the television on a Saturday afternoon to unwind after a long day of chores. How about preparing dinner a little earlier, leave the phones in the bedroom and have conversations over some homemade soup and rolls? Catch up on each other’s lives and see how best the family can make each member’s load lighter. After which, agree on a movie that is appropriate and fun for all ages. After the movie, talk about each of your favourite parts, share a few laughs and guess what? You will still have time to hang out with your friends in the night.

- Supermarket: Ridiculous prices, but we still have to go. You may need to walk with a little extra if you have children so that each child can pick up a small treat of their choice. This exercise will allow partners to get to know their children better in terms of what they love to eat, and can also be a budget-learning activity. If the treat budget is $300, allow them to choose whatever they like; but if it goes over the budget, they cannot have it.

- Chores: An excellent team-building exercise. Breaking up the chores will make the workload lighter for each person and before you know it, the tasks are done. Create a playlist with each of your favourite songs. It will teach you about each other and parents can monitor what kinds of music their children are listening to.

- Road trip: Each family has one family member in the country. Visit that family member for a day. Pack all that you will need, take the long scenic route, make a few stops, take some pictures, enjoy coconut water straight from the husk, and make wonderful memories.

Spending quality time with family doesn’t need to be an expensive venture. Once you have a family, it’s easy to figure out the rest.

How do you spend quality time with your family? Let us know by sending an email to lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.

jessica.harrison@gleanerjm.com