I was sitting on the beach on a beautiful afternoon with my family, surrounded by a beautiful cacophony of sounds - from the waves lapping in the ocean, playful shouts, and laughter. To my right, was an extended family sharing food under a tent. Chairs, beach toys, towels, and coolers flanked them on all sides. Clearly, this was going to be an all day affair. The women sat together chatting. A baby sat happily on her mother’s lap. The children played in the sand and surf. To my left, a group of young men set up a makeshift baseball field and enjoyed their game. Behind me, a group of teenagers lay on beach towels surrounding a fire pit, where they would stay until it was time to build a fire, roast food and share stories and laughter. When we returned home, we had dinner together and played a board game.
Sharing time as a family can be a daunting task in our fast paced society. However, family time amongst working parents is on the rise according to a 2010 study by two economists at The University of California San Diego according to Tara Pope in the New York Times article “Surprisingly, Family Time Has Grown” . There are a wealth of benefits to spending quality time together as a family. The family unit benefits from strong connection, feeling supported and valued as individuals, and learning the meaning of a team. Children thrive in a strong family environment by learning healthy habits and building confidence from parents as role models.
Spending quality time together does not have to be complicated or expensive. From movies, games, or cooking together at home, to trips to the beach or the park, to bicycling or hiking in nature, the choices abound.