For most of us, life is busy—with lists that are miles long and the constant feeling that you’re three steps behind.

Despite all of the busyness, though, most of us would agree that spending more quality time with family is one of our most important priorities—and it’s something that we’d love to do more of.

Spending time with the ones that you care about is the best way to show them that you care—especially for children, who naturally equate time with love.

But when you’re busy, it can be easy to push quality time onto the back burner—letting other, more pressing issues take us away. Before we know it, another week and then a month goes by and spending enough time with the ones we care about slips further and further down the list.

The truth is that one of the best ways to start spending more time with your family is by looking for ways to make it a part of your routine. Incorporate it in small bursts, when you can. But in some cases, if you’re chronically overbooked or just plain busy—you may find it helpful to start scheduling it in.

If you’re looking to make family time an important part of your routine, here’s a look at five ways to intentionally carve out more time for this in the coming weeks.

1. Get Them Involved

The chores have to get done anyways, so why not make them a family event? Get the laundry done and dinner cooked up, all while making it an activity you can all enjoy. While it might not be the most fabulous thing you can think of doing, it is one way to sneak in some extra together time. Put on some fun tunes—the kids (the younger ones, at least!) will love being with you and helping out.

2. Have Meals Together

One of the best ways to spend some extra quality time with your family is by having your meals together. While mornings are generally chaotic and lunch time rarely sees everyone at home, family dinners are a perfect time to get everyone together. If distractions are a constant issue, set a rule that no technology is allowed at the table. Encourage conversation instead!

3. Go for Walks

Throughout history, walking after dinner has been lauded for its many benefits—and you’ll want to think about making this routine a part of your family-time as well. Going for walks together is a great way to wrap up your day, get in some exercise, take in the fresh air, and connect with loved ones. A 30-minute walk around the block won’t leave you too far behind schedule either. If not after dinner, try for after school or during the weekend!

4. Plan Outings

Planning outings, such as trips to a theme park, a historical location, or nature spot, can be a great way to make memories and spend time together. Activities such as bike rides, swimming, or trips to the movies are also great fun and give everyone something to look forward to. To get started, choose some simple activities that are nearby and schedule them in.

5. Clean Up Your To-Do List

Finally, if you’re finding it increasingly difficult to find enough time to spend with those you love, it’s important to take a closer look at your to-do list. While some weeks will inevitably be busier than others, if you feel that your schedule is leaving you consistently exhausted, distracted, and with little time for anything else—you may want to consider evaluating your priorities and making some changes. Look to eliminate things that aren’t absolutely necessary, and try to automate and delegate whenever possible. Start reprioritizing, and don’t feel bad saying no to extra things that you just can’t reasonably fit in.

* * *

While it can be difficult to pull back and carve out downtime in our daily schedules, deep down inside, we all know that it’s vitally important—and something we’d all like to be more intentional about. Spending time with loved ones offers numerous benefits for you and your family as well. You’ll feel happier and less stressed—and will be on your way to achieving that balance you’ve been craving. Spending time with your children can open up opportunities for them to feel like they’re being heard and listened to, and can help you both to connect as well. So don’t feel bad putting some things on hold to spend time with your family—after all, you have beautiful memories to make!

Spending undivided time with your family is one of the most important intentions you can set. How do you carve out time in your busy week?

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