Whoever said "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" had it partly right. Add to dull ( funny word but I take it to mean boring): disconnected, lonely and unhappy and you are getting closer to the truth. But in our busy and over scheduled modern world I have noticed a a growing tendency to forget to schedule time for play or to schedule it and then bump it as something "more important" comes up.
I don't think there is anything more important than setting aside time, at a minimum each week, for play, recreation and fun. Playing creates connection with those you share your playtime with and it is essential for families and couples who want to maintain healthy relationships and be happy.
Shared activities create bonding and connection and a sense of belonging to the group or to one another. For families it is true that - "The family that plays together stays together" (I'm pulling out the idioms today!!). It is really important to take regular opportunities for recreation and fun as a family. Whilst the big things such as parties and holidays create the memories that fill the family photo albums (and are also very important) - it is the day to day play that becomes the glue that holds the family together.
If your family could have some more fun and play try the following:
Schedule the time -this will depend on the age and stage of your family. We used to go away one weekend a month when the children were small and all activities such as swimming lessons were scheduled for during the week. But as they have grown older this has become less practical and now we go away 1 weekend per term and family fun is every Sunday - often all day but at the very least all afternoon. Of course this doesn't stop you from having more fun and daily would be great but what I am talking about is a block of "unbumpable" fun time that everyone prioiritises.
Set the expectations- in our family all the family is expected to be involved -and there are very few exceptions to this eg a birthday party would be an exception but just hanging out with your friends would not. We also try to balance friends being included with just family so we don't miss out on just our family time. If something unavoidable comes up we reschedule (not cancel) within the week (usually to Saturday).
Create your family fun list- get the kids involved -a mix of free and cheap stuff is essential so there are no excuses and then you can throw in the occasional big thrill such as theme parks or other exceptional fun. Here is our current list for some ideas...
Our family fun list:
- make a robot or a rocket (lego is popular in our house at the moment);
- family board games and card games;
- 10 pin bowling - boys vs girls
- day at the beach with picnic;
- 4 wheel driving adventures;
- family bike rides;
- playing in the park;
- geocaching (see http://www.geocaching.com/ for explanation)
- going out for a meal;
Just Do It- for at least 12 weeks to feel the benefits - it will become a habit that you don't want to break.