By Rachel Hoeing

The title of this blog almost seems like an oxymoron to me. “Fitting in Family Time.” Why do we need to “fit it in?” Doesn’t family time just happen? Sadly, no, it does not.

No matter if you have one baby, three teenagers, or five kids whose ages spread out over a ten year span, finding the time to all be together as a family is tough. Jobs, commitments, nap times, friends, technology, sports, school, homework, house cleaning, art lessons, birthday parties … the list of things that can interfere with your family time can go on and on.

The more I take note of families who I think are raising responsible, kind, and diligent children, the more I notice that they all have one thing in common – they spend time together.

For today’s blog, I am urging each of you to leave a comment below. Tell us how YOU are fitting in family time amongst the daily responsibilities of life. If we work as a team, we can encourage each other and figure out ways to grow and bond in each of our families.

I will start with one idea that has worked for me. I am trying to exercise more often, but have found that it is just another item on my “to-do” list each day. It is another item that takes away from my family time. So, every so often, I am combining the two. My family of four loads our bikes up and we drive to Salem Lake. (If you have not been, this is one of our favorite parks in Winston.) We ride the loop around the lake together. It is about 7 miles and only has a few hills. The scenery is gorgeous and the trail is shaded. It is terrific exercise for all of us, and it is great to spend time together laughing, stopping to watch turtles, ducks or the train that often goes by on the nearby bridge. If your children are older than mine, it works out even better because you will probably get in a more rigorous workout! If they are younger, borrow a bike seat or even a bike trailer that your children can ride inside.

Family Game Nights are also a lot of fun. I think a big factor in making them work is to actually schedule a family night and put it on the calendar well in advance. Teens can ask off work, parents can say no to other social events, and little ones can stay up later than usual. Choose a date and stick to it. Let your family know that they are a priority, even if you get invited to a wonderful dinner out that same night. During your family night, you can play board games, go bowling, play cards, throw the football, whatever! (Oh, and phones are off!)

Your turn, friends! How are YOU fitting in family time?

*Photo credit – Heather McGinnis Photography