Family First: People should spend more quality time with their families

Angela Qian

Like many students, I traveled over Thanksgiving break to visit family. But this family was my mom, and it was the first time I’d seen her in months. My sister came home from college, and we were all together as a family for the first time since school started.

Just for a little background, my mom’s job relocated her to Iowa in January, so I live here with my dad, but we’ll all move in with my mom after I graduate in a couple of years. In the months since my mom moved, I’ve grown to be so much more aware and more appreciative of her influence throughout my and my family’s life.

Despite not doing anything particularly special over break—we ate, talked and played cards—the holiday we were able to spend together just felt right. We recently moved houses here after living in the same one for 15 years, so it was the one in Iowa, filled with family, that felt like home.

As winter break approaches, everyone should cherish this time they have with their families, but the quality of time together is more important than the quantity. A 2015 study published by the Journal of Marriage and Family found that an increased amount of time spent with family had no noticeable significance, while an increased quality of time, with quality time including having a meal or playing a board game together, resulted in increased academic performance and reduced stress. During break, I noticed that I was happier, more productive and decidedly less stressed, a testament to the power of family.

So, focus on spending quality time with your parents, siblings and extended family this holiday season and afterward as well. This period of your life doesn’t last forever: you will graduate high school and leave to either go to college or join the workforce, both of which will probably be away from your parents and the rest of your family. Take the time to sit down with them now. Not only are your stress levels likely to decrease, but also you’ll have a guaranteed support system for the rest of your life.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Angela Qian at [email protected]