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Play day: How time-pressed families can find more time for fun

(BPT) - It waits for no one, flies by and can’t be bottled, but it’s the one thing everyone would like more of: time. In today’s busy, hectic society it’s harder for families to find time together for fun, yet spending quality time together is key to the emotional health of the family unit and of individual family members.

The average American spends nearly eight hours a weekday working and more than two hours on housework, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey. Add in the hours needed for sleeping and eating, and finding time for fun can take a backseat to other considerations.

Here are some ideas for how you and your family can take back time from your busy day and spend it with each other:

* Improve chore efficiencies – Housework is a necessity, but you don’t have to allow it to take up a lot of time. Working as a team and sharing duties is one way to ensure cleaning gets done quickly. Another smart time-saving technique is to streamline housework with the right tools. For example, the BISSELL CleanView Vacuum with OnePass Technology helps you spend less time vacuuming and more time enjoying a clean house. Powerful suction and an innovative brush design help pick up dirt on the first pass, meaning you spend less time going over the same spot of carpet. Learn more at www.bissell.com.

* Ease off on the electronics – The average American watches 34 hours of TV per week, according to one Nielsen report. Use of mobile devices is also increasing, and many families may find they spend more time with some kind of screen than they do with each other during the day. Reducing your family’s screen time could open up hours to enjoy doing things together. Consider family-friendly policies when it comes to use of electronics, such as no mobile devices at the dinner table, no TV with breakfast and no texting the family member in the next room.

* Meet over meals – Sitting down as a family for dinner is a great goal, but not easy for everyone. Shoot for one or two nights a week when you do this, rather than setting a possibly unachievable – and frustrating – goal of every night. Enhance the time spent preparing meals by involving kids in meal prep. This teaches children life skills such as math and measuring, meal-planning and nutrition. It also gives parents the opportunity to share more time with children as they prepare the family meal together.

* Schedule down – Take a look at your family’s schedule. Busy, isn’t it? Now look again. Are you all doing too much? Are you doing things that don’t really bring you individual enjoyment, let alone family fun? As a family, discuss what’s important in your schedules and what you can live without. Allow each family member reasonable time to pursue individual activities, but also eliminate extraneous ones. Reassign that time to family pursuits.

Spending time together as a family provides numerous benefits – from a greater sense of stability for children to improved mental health for adults. With some creativity and the right tools, it’s possible to find more time to spend together with the people who are most important to you.

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