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3 Tips for Being Present with Your Family

By Mormon.org
Family on the beach at sunset with inspirational quote: “Love is really spelled t.i.m.e.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf

When it comes right down to it, the things that matter most aren’t really things at all. No matter how many possessions you accumulate, how many adventures you experience, or how many accolades you acquire, nothing can replace the lasting relationships you build with the people you love most—your family.

Here are three ways that being present with your family will help you build those relationships one moment at a time.

Set Priorities

Family life is busy. Between school, work, sports, music, dance, service, and various other pursuits, schedules overflow with good things to do. But with all these good activities, Dallin H. Oaks counsels, “In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best.”

Take a look at the activities on your family’s calendar. Together, set priorities and decide which activities are best and then eliminate the rest. As you do, you might discover that trading one more evening on the sidelines for an impromptu water fight in the front yard was the best decision you ever made.

Put Down the Electronic Devices

We have all been guilty, at times, of choosing screen time over face-to-face interaction. Articles and studies analyzing this new technological landscape find that real-life, interpersonal skills suffer with too much time in front of a screen. In other words, put down your electronic device and spend time with your family. Really be there for the important conversations, and actively participate. Not only will you strengthen your family relationships, but you will also help family members learn important communication skills that will last a lifetime.

Can’t quite bring yourself to abandon the electronics completely? Then share the things you discover online with your family. Laugh together over a funny meme, hold a dance party to a music app, or discuss a meaningful video. Try this one about bullying. It might spark an interesting conversation with your kids.

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Stick to the Plan

We tend to follow through on scheduled activities. So put family time on the calendar and then stick to the plan. Whether it’s a major family vacation or a simple shopping trip, schedule time together and enjoy. One idea is to set aside one night a week just for family. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set aside Monday nights in a century-old program known as family home evening. During this time, families can discuss spiritual topics, sing songs, play games, or just spend time together having fun.

Whatever you do, make the time to be present with your family. If you would like to learn more about the importance of strengthening family relationships, we invite you to attend church with us.