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On Parenting
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 07/11/2012

Family downtime trumps family vacations

The power’s back on. The heat is bearable. The traffic is thinning.

We are hitting the sweet spot of summer in the region.

Even though many families are decamping or plan to, there is a pleasant rhythm to the city just now. Need more reason to feel okay about being here instead of Lake Winnipesaukee?

New research suggests that families might be best off skipping the ambitious and expensive travel plans.

A recent study by researchers at Brigham Young University suggests that families benefit most from low-key family interactions.
(Erin Williams/TWP)

Professors Ramon Zabriskie and Neil Lundberg and their colleagues surveyed children age 11 to 15 from a range of backgrounds and their fathers. They found that what they called “core activities” such as sharing a meal, playing sports or video games together or reading, prompted kids to rank their families higher for functionality and cohesion.

The splashier activities like vacations had a positive effect too, but not as significant as the effect of more mundane activities.

The study, which was published this spring in the journal Leisure Sciences, concludes: “…it is the common, ordinary parts of a father’s relationship with his children in family leisure that contribute most to family functioning.”

In an accompanying commentary, Lundberg added, “We spend so much effort on the big-ticket items thinking that it’s the most important thing for our families, when really, more time with our kids on day-to-day activities will suffice.”

What are your summer plans? Do they involve some downtime?

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By  |  07:00 AM ET, 07/11/2012

Tags:  Teens, Childhood Development

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