No matter how many people there are in your family, life with littlies can be nuts, and it always seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, right? Three in four parents admit they’re too busy to spend time together as a family due to the pressures of modern-day life, new research reveals. In fact, the average family gets just 30 minutes a day of un-distracted leisure time together; quality time where they feel they can bond away from routines or screens.
I’m a self-confessed sunshine worshipper, picnic aficionado, tartan rug hater and mama of two, and I know these pressures only too well. I’m on a mission to encourage families to get out and make an effort to spend time together picnicking this Autumn.
After taking a voluntary redundancy from my marketing job in 2017, I set out to create a lifestyle that would allow me to spend more time with my growing family. Like many working families with young kids, we were craving a way to spend more family time together but found achieving a balance that was right for us, to be somewhat of a challenge. We wanted to spend more time outdoors in the sun with our kids (we love a good picnic), but I couldn’t find a picnic blanket that was big enough to fit the whole gang. I was forever put-ting the kids first and being edged off onto the grass.
A mix between business and pleasure seemed the logical next step in achieving the balance I craved, so founded on a commitment to helping families spend more time together via the humble picnic I created Picnic Season, which personally I believe runs all year round!
But having a great product wasn’t enough. I wanted to know more about what other families thought about the time they got with their kids. To understand the time pressures faced by modern Aussie families. Our survey into the daily life and routines of 450 Aussie families, showed long working hours, getting home from work exhausted and parents engaging with hand held devices has led to more than three quarters of mums and dads constantly feeling they don’t get enough time to spend together as a family.
I found that 90% of families wanted to spend their time together doing more active and less sedentary activities. But, with energy levels zapped and spare time at a premium, more than 75% of parents said that, when they do get to do a family activity together, it’s normally something non-active like a meal at home.
This research shows what many families are feeling; that our time is so precious and we’re struggling to achieve that elusive work/life balance.
We can see that there is a desire amongst Aussie families to break out of existing routines and into more active lifestyles. Despite this, almost half of parents told us that despite good intentions, they are either just too tired or cannot find the time to be as active with their children and their family as they’d like to be. And, while the most common way to spend limited family time proved to be having a meal at home together, second on the list was a trip to the park, while going out for a meal and going for a walk also made the top five.
I want to support and inspire families to get out together in the fresh air with a bite to eat, and enjoy each other’s company. Picnicking is by nature such a social activity that doesn’t break the bank. You can set up a picnic almost anywhere with a little bit of creativity and imagination, even if it’s just in the backyard or at a local park.
Even with the arrival of Winter, there are plenty of mild days in Melbourne so it’s still a great time to start think about killing two birds with the one stone and getting outside to share a budget friendly meal with the family.
TOP 10 MOST COMMON WAYS FAMILIES SPEND TIME TOGETHER
1. Having a meal at home
A sure-fire way to get the whole family together at the one time!
2. A trip to the park
There are so many great playgrounds in your local area. Why not try a new one each weekend?
3. Movie at home
If you don’t have a projector, why not drag out a mattress on the floor in front of the telly (or your favourite rug), grabs some blankets and settle in with some popcorn as well!
4. Going out for a meal
Everyone should have a favourite family friendly restaurant in their area. Whether it has colouring in, a playground or just super food the kids love, getting out of the house make for a great night out.
5. Going for a walk
Grab the dog, the kids, scooters, pram – whatever you need – then go get some fresh air. It’s a great time to chat about the kids’ day at kinder or school too.
6. Reading a story
Such a beautiful way to be really present in a child’s life. Make sure you keep their favourite books too so they can relive the memories when they have their own kids.
7. Watching TV
There are lots of family friendly series on these days to enjoy together.
8. Cooking or baking
Getting the kids involved in cooking not only makes a meal more special, it can also encourage fussy eaters to try new things.
9. Beach trip
Always a crowd pleaser with the family, but we might need to wait a few more months, or rug up a lot!
10. Playing a board game or puzzle
Everyone has a favourite boardgames from when they were a kid. Why not share yours with your own kids!
By Kate Seiz, Geelong mama and founder of Picnic Season. picnicseason.com