With Family Day approaching, it’s a great time for each of us to do some self-reflection on how we are doing as a family. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Canada recently released their Family Togetherness Survey findings that showed Canadian families are overall pretty darn happy with their families. A full 91% of survey respondents answered they are satisfied with their family life and the time spent together is one of the biggest factors in family happiness.
That does not surprise me. As a parent educator and family counsellor, I have studied and observed the family institution and how it’s changing over time. If you look back over the last century, it is clear that we are parenting better than ever before!
Sure, we certainly have new family challenges. Two important additions are the increased pace of life, and the other is the intrusion of technology which competes for our time and attention when it is not managed correctly.
However, today’s parents are keen, alert and aware of how important the childhood years are for the overall development of their children and they care deeply about making a good childhood for their kids, knowing this time of life is impactful to their overall success and wellbeing in later years. Of utmost importance is our relationships with our child that is born out of time spent together.
The RMHC survey found that on average weekdays, parents spend 5.4 hours per day together interacting as a family and that number jumps to 12.2 hours on weekends. How is your family faring?
Most families in the RMHC survey identified that they cherish the family mealtime the most (80%). There certainly is something primal in breaking bread together that transcends time and culture. Mealtime is a great example of the importance of the connections and memories we make with our children during the so-called mundane daily activities of family life if we bring our full attention and positive attitude to the task.
It’s the inside jokes and little rituals we establish that are ever-lasting in our children’s memories. While it’s wonderful if you get a chance to do a splashy all-inclusive holiday at a resort, it is not required.
Time together during the week sharing a TV show, playing together or conversation in the car on the way to hockey practice are the regular stuff of life that provides the family glue.
Our need to be together is the key to our family happiness and that time is especially important when a child is sick and needs medical attention that can only be accessed away from home. I salute Ronald McDonald House Charities for the work it does in honouring the importance of keeping families close.
This Family Day weekend, post pictures of your family together using the hashtag #keepingfamiliesclose to honour that you too appreciate the movement to strengthen Canadian families by spending time together. Thanks @RMHCCanada for the great work you on this front.