Most experts on the family will tell you that, "The family that prays together stays together." But I'd like to suggest a corollary to that principle, "The family that plays together stays together."
Summer is the perfect season for families to rediscover the lost arts of family rest and relaxation -- and it's also the perfect time for families to work on spending plenty of time playing together.
Here are four key reasons why parents should invest in family playtime this summer:
1. Play Builds Family Memories. At your next summer fun family gathering, eavesdrop on the conversations around you. Chances are the majority of the talk is about past family experiences.
2. Play Reduces Family Stress and Tension. Let's face it---we live in some pretty stressful times. During summer, many of us are preoccupied with escape, finding peace, and going on vacation. None of these factors are unhealthy in and of themselves. But when you add them together or experience them for a prolonged period of time, be sure to put away your work and responsibilities and take at least a week of "do-nothing-but-play" vacation time to find some perspective.
3. Play Causes Good Communication. In the routine settings of everyday life, finding the "perfect moment" to have "the big talk" with your kids can feel like an exercise in futility. But in less-structured playful summer moments, you're bound to have more opportunities to talk about "big issues" with your kids.
4. Play Produces Affirmation and Support. When our families play together, everyone gains a deeper sense of belonging, support and community. Summertime offers parents many opportunities to work at creating a strong sense of community within their family.
Families that rest, relax and play together this summer are likely to discover their time together provides a tremendous source of bonding and fun while helping kids to build a future filled with great memories. Don't let this summer pass by without investing in the serious business of family rest, relaxation and play.