Living inside an egg-timer
Family life increasingly operates around a rigorous schedule as families balance work, school, leisure, social and personal lives.
A recent report found that three in five parents with kids in the 12-16 age group, can nominate where they’ll be at 5pm on any given Wednesday. Wow! That’s organized!!
So entrenched is life inside this egg-timer like existence, that operating outside it can genuinely cause anxiety.
In fact, around half of teens and the same percentage of parents say that life would be chaotic if they didn’t live to a schedule.
Introduce some spontaneity into family life
Australian families are forgetting to be spontaneous. The idea of having a lazy day off with no one going anywhere is anathema to many families. When researching my book Working Parents, I discovered that regular down-time was essential for healthy family functioning when both parents (or one in a sole parent family) were working.
Yet, many parents tell me that they feel guilty when kids (or they) are just mooching around. “We should be doing something productive” is the cry I hear from parents with high work ethics.
Maybe we’d all be better off and feel less stress and anxiety if we chilled and just hung out together.
Here’s some ideas if you’re stuck:
- Tidy a room with a child (any room)
- Walk the dog together
- Do something you’ve never done as a family
- Watch a movie that a child chooses (any child)
- Wash the family pet
- Cook the next meal together as a family
- Drop in on a family or friend without notice
- Put music on when everyone is home
- Play outside regardless of the weather
- Make a weeknight takeaway night
If any of these suggestions made you wince then maybe you need to spend some time in Spontaneity Street. It’s right next door to Down-time Drive.
It will help make going through Routine Roundabout much more bearable. Besides, Spontaneity Street runs between Resiliency Road and Grit Grove, which are good places to hang around in the long-term.