Do you ever feel like life can get so chaotic that at times you feel you might lose your head if it wasn’t attached to your body? With the hustle and bustle of daily life including jobs, relationships, children, etc., it wouldn’t be a stretch to guess that family time often falls by the wayside. When quantity is scarce in this department, it is of greater importance to ensure the quality of time spent is above par. However, the question is “how?”.

Tips From a Houston Family Therapist

  • Being fully present
  • Doing something new together
  • Engaging in an activity that is based on the family’s shared values 
  • Connecting emotionally  

A Houston Therapist Explains How to Improve Quality Time

Starting with the first suggestion, being fully present can be a seemingly easy but really difficult task. In a world full of multitasking and distractions that promote instant gratification, it is hard to find moments when you are entirely engaged in the here-and-now. Some further suggestions to accomplish this feat are removing phones and other physical distractions. Perhaps, this extends to television, computers, and/or other electronics. To take it one step forward, as parents, we can utilize our “upstairs brain” or the brain responsible for attention control and emotional processing, to reduce mental distractions. This requires mindfulness skills meaning consistently acknowledging our attention has gone elsewhere and gently bringing it back to the present moment. You can learn more about mindfulness skills here:  

Try Something New Together!

Research has suggested that participating in novel satisfying experiences promotes relational closeness. In addition, trying new things together has been linked to higher relationship satisfaction and quality overall (Bacev-Giles & Harasymchuk, 2015). What makes this research more exciting is that trying new things can range from trying a new skill at home like cooking or baking to riding a new rollercoaster at a theme park. Truly, the options are limitless but here are a few suggestions to get you started:   

  • A new type of food  
  • A new skill like  
  • Sewing 
  • Gardening
  • Painting  
  • Pottery making  
  • A new restaurant  
  • Paddleboarding  
  • Surfing  
  • Tennis  
  • Kayaking  
  • A new board game  

What are Your Family’s Values?

What deepens these interactions is if the activity you are engaging in with your family is rooted or aligned with the family unit’s values. Values are core beliefs related to behavior or way of life. Personal values versus family values may look different; however, most often there are shared values between family members and general values central to the way the family operates as a unit.

Examples of values may be: 

  • Togetherness  
  • Honesty  
  • Respect 
  • Teamwork  
  • Compassion 
  • Courage  
  • Patience  

This blog post titled Defining Family Values is a great resource to start with when defining your family’s values.  

Tips From a Family Therapist on How to Connect Emotionally With Your Family

When considering how to connect emotionally with your children and family, you might not know what this exactly entails. Simply put, connecting emotionally promotes feeling aligned with another person or unit. By taking time and effort away from other distractions and responsibilities to focus on an individual or unit, you are endorsing an emotional connection. Ways of increasing emotional connections can look like:   

  • Validate that you hear them when speaking to them  
  • Engaging in consistent eye contact  
  • Rephrasing what they are saying to ensure you are hearing what they are meaning 
  • Considering their unique emotional needs- do they need affirmations, quality time, or acts of service?  

Fitting family time in your schedule can seem like an impossible task for many families. Consider trying out these suggestions and remember to celebrate the efforts you are all making to enhance family togetherness. 

Schedule with A Family Therapist Today!

Our therapists would love to work with you and your family to meet your goals! If you are interested in getting scheduled with one of our Houston, TX family therapists, please give us a call at 7133648645 or schedule a FREE phone consultation HERE. Futhermore, we encourage you to continue checking into Brittani Persha Counseling Blog for more commentary on family therapy, mental health, and more.  

About The Author

Avery Benedict, LPC-A is a play therapist at Brittani Persha Counseling in Houston, TX. She received her undergraduate degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas. She continued her education and received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Sam Houston University. Avery has worked in residential and partial hospitalization treatment settings for patients of all ages who have severe OCD, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. She currently specializes in working with pre-teens and teenagers utilizing CBT, DBT, and ACT modalities.

References:  

Bacev-Giles, C., & Harasymchuk, C. (2015). Trying Something New: Frequency, cues, and challenges associated with the engagement of novel couple activities. Trying Something New. Retrieved August 28, 2022, from file:///Users/averybenedict/Downloads/Bacev-Giles&Harasymchuk_SPSP2015_Poster_FINAL.pdf  

 

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