Nowadays life is very busy. What with working, school activities, sports, extended family and friends, we all seem to lead our lives at a hectic pace. Sometimes all this activity is at the expense of our family lives. Here we look at some strategies you can use to ensure you have a happier family.

1. Work life balance
Balancing the demands of work and life is never easy, however, it is possible to achieve a happier medium. There will be busy periods at work when there is no choice but to put in the hours. Try to balance that by having at least one or preferably two evenings a week when you’re able to come home at a reasonable time and participate in a family meal, outing to the movies, or simply to relax together. Your family will be happier for seeing more of you and you will feel more in control of your life.

2. Communication
Keeping open the lines of communication, especially with sullen teenagers, can be challenging. However, being able to talk about the good times as well as the tough is an important life lesson for children. Set a good example yourself by talking about what’s happening in your life. Use the time at the dinner table, or in the car en route to dropping them off somewhere as an opportunity to connect with your children.

3. Quality time
Try to organise some fun family activities each week. Even something simple such as a family walk in the park, a shared Sunday lunch or a game of ten pin bowling will help to cement those family relationships.

4. Spend time with your partner
It’s just as important to spend quality time with your partner, after all, children learn about relationships mostly from their parents. Make sure you find time to discuss the day-to-day issues as well as just things that you enjoy talking about. A date night or even a takeaway or quiet night watching TV together is all it takes.

5. Look after yourself
All too often parents devote all their energies to looking after everyone else in the family and forget about themselves. Neglecting to look after yourself, however, can leave you feeling miserable and resentful. It’s OK to admit that you have feelings and needs too and it’s not selfish to treat yourself from time to time. It doesn’t have to be expensive either – 10 minutes reading a book or enjoying an uninterrupted coffee can make a big difference to our general outlook on life.
Taking a step back from our frantic and demanding lives every now and then is important for all of us to do. And our family lives will be all the richer if we invest the necessary time and effort into making them happier.