Shh!! I have a secret! You guessed it….the secret to family happiness! Here is how I was reminded of how to make my family happy.
Every summer I fly around the country with my children like a mad woman!!! Why, you may ask??? “To be honest after I read the blog “Went to Europe, loved the playground: Why travel with kids is a waste,” I’m not sure. The only real answer I have for now is that we live in Arizona and it’s just to hot to stay here all summer. So instead we go back and forth between the East Coast and West Coast visiting, sight seeing, and thoroughly exhausting ourselves.
When I read the blog above, it was like a light bulb went off in my head! It really brought me back to my parenting roots. It reminded me that my goal as a parent was to create a strong family unit, which in turn would help create a well rounded contributing member of society. Why have I been schlepping my five year old and almost two year old to museums, activities, and cities for the past few summers? All they really want is quality time with mom and dad.
Don’t Just Take My Word for it
Ramon Zabriskie, an expert in “recreational management” at Brigham Young’s Marriot School found through studies that everyday togetherness is the secret to family happiness. Zabriskie did a study with fathers that showed that kids were happiest when they were doing activities like watching TV and playing board games with their dads. His research team surveyed fathers and children between the ages of 11-15, but he believes if they did another study with mothers he would find the same thing. He also surveyed 3 year olds and 5 year olds and found very similar results, so it doesn’t matter how old your kids are they just want some quality time with you.
The Good News
Parents put your credit cards away!! Zabriskie’s study showed “core activities” ie shooting hoops, reading books, coloring together to be more meaningful to your kids then “balance activities” ie activities that cost money. Yahoo! He did point out though that balance activities weren’t worthless just not as important. So, this summer every time I get a knee jerk to take my kids somewhere I think they “need” to go, I am going to remember what truly makes them happy….a family swim, staying in our pajamas and watching cartoons together, and playing board games.