Tips on Adding Leisure Time

If you and your family are not in the habit of spending time together for fun, don't try to change overnight. Start with easy things.

Parents, you can start first:

Let your children see that leisure is important to you. Do something for yourself.

  • Take a nap if you're tired.
  • If it's a nice day, go outside instead of doing a chore in the house.
  • Say "no" to outside commitments once in a while.
  • Read a book.

Take a look at how you handle time conflicts:

  • Do you always do what others expect of you, even if it deprives you of time you need for yourself and your family?
  • Are there shortcuts you could find to things you do? Can weekly chores be done every other week?
  • Can you find anyone with whom you can share your responsibilities? If you both need some freedom, take turns covering for each other.
  • Do you over-plan family activities, putting more stress on yourself? Do you insist on a spotless house before you ask friends over? Does it really matter?
  • Do you manage your time at work so that you don't have to bring work home with you?

Once you make the commitment, encourage other family members to do the same:


  • If you want family members to be interested in doing things together, then everyone's ideas should be included.
  • Involving children in the planning gives you an opportunity to communicate with them. You can learn about your children's feelings, fears and frustrations in the process.
  • Use the discussion to get to know your child better and to reinforce the value of his or her ideas. By gradually teaching how to make good decisions and then allowing your child to make them, you prepare your child for adulthood.

Focus on Things You Can Do

Try not to focus on obstacles. Although there are often barriers such as money, time, transportation, lack of awareness and fear, there are also alternatives.

For example, if you want to exercise and meet people but can't afford to join a health club, you can begin by walking. Then look into no-cost walking clubs.

If you are trying to make friends, it helps to use a hobby or special interest as a starting point. Places for ideas include:

  • Local newspaper listings
  • Town web sites
  • YMCAs
  • Departments of parks and recreation
  • Your children's schools
  • Churches
  • Libraries
  • Social clubs
  • Sports clubs
  • Scouting organizations

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