Craving more meaningful time with your loved ones? Here are easy ways to foster those deep connections.
Sometimes it feels like we’re living on different existential planes. We breeze by each other in the kitchen, then head into the car, and the day has started. School, work, soccer practice, dinner, homework, and you’ve still barely said hello. It’s true: Modern families can struggle with the most basic forms of connection. For this week’s Healthy Habits, we looked at three ways to stay more engaged in the lives of family members, nurturing those important bonds and investing in them.
Share Your Pastimes
Data scientist Henrik Lindberg reports that Americans’ participation in hobbies tends to depend quite a bit on income level. For example, affluent people gravitate toward golf, racquet sports and attending the performing arts, while lower income people were more likely to play billiards and do arts and crafts, Lindberg’s research showed. But what activity a family is interested in isn’t nearly as important as participating in it together. Families that play together stay together, enjoying better communication and overall satisfaction, researchers report.
Curb your streaming
According to a new study by the website Streaming Observer, the average person spends 71 minutes a day watching Netflix. Their research contrasted that with data that shows the average family only gets 35.5 minutes a day of undistracted time together. To put this into perspective, the average Netflix user is spending twice as much time streaming as they are spending with family. If you subscribe to a service such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, be mindful of your consumption and see if there’s a little time that can be shaved off and reserved for family instead.
Focus on memories above all else.
Dr. Thomas Gilovitch, a psychology professor at Cornell University, has found that buying things can only provide so much excitement, whereas spending money on a shared experience brings about satisfaction and enduring happiness. Foster a sense of identity and connection by spending money on a beach vacation for the family, for example, instead of splurging on a new couch. You’ll be glad you did.