3 Benefits of Family Fun

Some of my favorite memories growing up are from family game nights. My oldest sister would be making cool creations with the game pieces, my dad would be trying his best to win, and the rest of us would gang up against my dad. There was always plenty of laughter, joking, and all-around fun.

While I didn’t realize it at the time, the family togetherness that came from our family fun really shaped me. Research shows that spending meaningful and fun time together as a family has a variety of benefits. Here are just a few of them.

1. Better Behavior

Kids need strong, loving relationships with family members in order to develop well. A lot of children who act out in teenage years don’t have adequate family support. On the other hand, research shows that when teens spend more time with their parents, they are less likely to skip school or get in trouble with the law (1). Spending that quality time together as a family may be key to helping your kids stay out of trouble in the future!

2. Less Stress

Feeling stressed by all your responsibilities? Take a break and have some family fun! Studies show that leisure can be an effective way to both cope with stress and protect against stress’s negative health impacts (2). So try making time for play time as a family to reduce stress for both you and your kids.

3. Stronger Family Bonds

Time together doing something relaxing or enjoyable can help you draw closer together. Just like couples benefit from sharing fun activities, families need fun too! In fact, research supports the fact that spending leisurely time together as a family improves family bonding and satisfaction (3).

Ready, Set, Play!

Whether you have a family game night, go to a cultural event, or play a favorite sport together, find a fun activity your family can enjoy together.

Work on projects together. Working together to accomplish a task bonds parents and children. Looking at the finished project, the family can see the tangible benefits of planning and interacting together to achieve a goal.

Play together—whether it’s a board game inside or playing tag outside, playing together is a great way to have fun as family. If it’s too cold to go outside, stay in and break out the video games. Yes, playing video games can be an effective way of spending time together as a family–just don’t always rely on them to have fun.

Laugh together. There is something about laughing together that helps people bond. Set aside some time after dinner to tell jokes or share funny stories. Children love seeing their parents acting “silly” or doing something unexpected.

Experience nature together. Children have better mental and physical health when they are outdoors, and outdoor experiences are the best way to experience “shared risk” (see below).

Have “shared risk” experiences. When you have experienced a frightening situation with another person, you are more likely to feel a special connection with that individual. The same is true for families, so look for opportunities to experience some “frightening” times together—sharing a roller coaster ride, hiking and seeing a snake cross your path, or whitewater rafting.  Outdoor activities lend themselves to these shared risk adventures.

While you’re having family fun, you’ll also help your kids behave better, cope with stress, and improve family relationships. So find a fun activity and play together today!

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Picture retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/family-sea-vacation-beach-summer-2432568/.

References

1. Milkie, M. A., Nomaguchi, K. M., & Denny, K. E. (2015, April). Does the amount of time mothers spend with their children or adolescents matter? Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(2), 355-372. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12170/pdf

2. Iwasaki, Y. (2006). Counteracting stress through leisure coping: A prospective health study. Psychology, Health, & Medicine, 11(2), 209-220. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13548500500155941

3. Orthner, D. K., & Mancini, J. A. (1990). Leisure impacts on family interaction and cohesion. Journal of Leisure Research, 22(2), 125-137. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/6e799e545c96b0d5edf4fc6c0e643a7c/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1816610

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