Like all parents with busy lives, it is sometimes difficult to find the time to bring everyone together as a family. Often we get caught up in the things we are required to do, but they are not always the things that matter. The upcoming break provides us with an opportunity to regroup and find that elusive quality, family time we often read about or refer to.
The word ‘family’ does not just apply to those who are biologically related, but also encompasses close friends, guardians, step relatives, carers etc. A PLOS ONE study showed that stress, happiness and well-being levels were better predicted by the strength of a participant’s social circle than by their physical health data. Aside from providing love and support, time with family also promotes adaptability and resilience.
Dr Todd Thatcher, from Highlands Clinic has identified what he believes are the top ten benefits of spending time with family, eight of which I have listed below.
1. Improvements in Mental Health
Reducing screen time and increasing face to face communication within families,
has been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of depression, anxiety and
other mental health concerns.
2. Supports Children to Perform Well Academically
On average, kids who are spending time with family, tend to do better in school.
They learn communication skills and the importance of education.
3. Lowers Risk of Behavioural Problems
Children who spend time with their family show less risk of behavioural issues, such
as violence and substance abuse. Being with family and doing activities together
also provides an outlet for pent-up emotions that could otherwise lead to
unhealthy decisions. Your advice can also enable them to be better equipped to
cope with problems and make positive choices.
4. Boosts Self Confidence
Parents can teach children to build self-esteem through specific skills such as
problem solving and communication. They can also model the ability to love
oneself without degrading others. For parents and children, confidence grows
simply with the knowledge that they are valued and appreciated by their loved
5. Assists with Developing Effective Conflict Resolution Skills
Being with family is fun, but it can be difficult, too. When conflicts arise, you can’t
just walk away for good. You’re in this together, so you have to work together to
solve the issues that come up. Spending time with family teaches interpersonal
communication skills including healthy, constructive ways to discuss, debate, and
6. Promotes Adaptability and Resilience
Your ability to face life’s changes and challenges is greatly improved by a strong
family bond. Being with family gives you the feeling of knowing that you belong,
you are cared for, and you are needed, which gives a sense of meaning and
purpose. This assurance provides motivation to push forward, grow, and succeed.
7. Reduces Stress
Those with strong family healthy relationships tend to seek out healthier coping
mechanisms for stress—such as confiding in friends and family—instead of other
unhealthy outlets. This establishes a habit of talking through problems together to
relieve stress and find effective solutions.
8. Enhances Physical Health
There’s evidence that time with family can boost the effects of exercise and other
healthy habits. It also improves heart, brain, hormonal, and immune health. Being
with family can also encourage one another to maintain healthy lifestyles.
Taking into consideration all of this research, perhaps the greatest gift we can give our families this Christmas is our time. I wish all of our RGGS families a happy and safe holiday break and look forward to seeing you back in 2022.
Deputy Principal - Students