Family leisure at home--natural remedy for family happiness

Harold Mandel's picture
A happy family

Family leisure which is spent at home taking part in familiar pastimes may be a good route to happiness.

Advertisement

In the pursuit of happiness families often spend a lot of money and time searching for exciting things to do. Paradoxically it seems that simply staying at home and doing familiar things together may be the path to greater happiness for the entire family.

"Brain power" to invest in family closeness may be drained with unfamiliar activities

Baylor University reports that there may be less "brain power" left to invest in the closeness of the family when there is a focus on activities which are not familiar in new locations. And so even though family fun is often perceived of as being associated with new activities which are exciting, a more effective path to happiness may be spending family leisure time at home pursuing pastimes which are familiar.

Advertisement

Lead author Karen K. Melton, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor of child and family studies in Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, says this phenomenon may be due to the fact that when the brain has to focus on the processing of new information there is not as much "brain power" left to focus on nurturing relationships in the family. When families take part in activities which are not familiar in new locations with new people this brain drain may be seen.

Not all family leisure is equal

Dr Melton points out that although it is suggested by research that there is a contribution to satisfaction with family life from all quality time spent together nevertheless not all family leisure is equal. A good predictor of families achieving happiness may be to spend quality time together at home doing familiar things together. This is certainly good news for families who do not have a lot of time and who do not have a lot of resources.

According to Dr Melton there are different types of activities at home which are best for different families. Some families feel that quality time together is best experienced having dinner together or playing games together. Other families may feel watching videos, watching TV, listening to music or sharing hobbies are even more satisfying. The important point is that what's really important is that we remember we are social beings who desire a sense of connectivity and belonging.

This study has been published in World Leisure Journal. It seems that family activities which are predictable and which are in environments which are familiar inside the home are good for nurturing family happiness. This is an important point to consider whether or not your family has a lot of extra time or resources.

Advertisement