Family Recreation (pt. 1): The Benefits

Charles Francis Adams was a grandson of the second president of the United States, a successful lawyer, and ambassador to Great Britain. He took his son fishing one day and wrote in his journal “Went fishing with my son today. A day wasted.” On the same day, his son wrote “Went fishing with my father today, the most wonderful day of my life.”


Family recreation gives us opportunities “to affect the lives of our children [and] we do not always realize how much they want to be with us.” Recreation is defined as “a leisure time we use to restore, refresh, and regain control in our lives. It provides opportunities for accomplishment and fosters feelings of self-worth, enjoyment, and pleasure. It is also socially constructed and morally acceptable.”

A survey found playing with our children as one of the most pleasurable activities we participate in, but the survey also found that we spend more of our time doing things that aren’t as pleasurable like watching TV. This is sad, as research has found many benefits related to families playing together. Playing together as a family is pleasurable for all family members, helps parents communicate on children’s level, and helps children feel loved. Family recreation promotes family bonding and child development. Parents feel a sense of control and experience intellectual growth. Children learn social and language skills and gain more appreciation for the natural world.

Research has also discovered family recreation to be a protection against teen delinquency. Productive teens who have hobbies, do their homework, are involved in athletics or other activities are happier and experience more pleasure than teens who hang out in the mall. Bored kids are more likely to turn towards delinquency, so family activities protect against boredom and thus delinquency. Family activities help children develop a better self-esteem and more easily decide on a career.

Family recreation can benefit our families in so many ways.

Take the time to play as a family and watch the bonds within the family strengthen and your children become better prepared to flourish in the world.

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