When Family Time Is Too Much


We have all been home now – from work and school – for a month or so.

There are some definite advantages: no commutes, no early wake-ups, no drama about what to wear in the morning. One consistent advantage I have heard is how much everyone is enjoying all the extra family time. For many of us, the extra family time means more family meals, game time, movie nights, and just general family bonding time.

I don’t know about your family, but all this togetherness has also increased the fighting and bickering among my three kids, and between the kids and myself.

I know we are all stressed, and this is truly a crisis situation we are dealing with. With that in mind, we need to give each other some grace. That can be hard to remember when you are breaking up the fifth fight over issues as trivial as which Minecraft server the kids are on, or who gets to pet the family dog more. 

Normally, in the “before times,” when the annoyance levels got super high, the answer to the problems was to separate the kids and have some parent-kid one-on-one time. Social distancing has made this especially challenging. I can’t take a kid to the movies, or out to Menchies, or even just to walk around Target with some Starbucks. Worse, when this mom has had enough, I can’t really escape either, except for grocery shopping.

So what is a family to do, when the abundance of family time has gotten to be too much?

Neighborhood Walks

You can do this with one or multiple children. Or, even by yourself. We get to wave at neighbors, sometimes chat from a safe distance briefly, and feel slightly less isolated. If you do not have a neighborhood in which to walk, see if any of your local trails are open for a walk outside. Fresh air does a body good.

A Time-Out for Mommy

If getting out of the house is not an option, then sometimes, once I make sure that things are on a relatively even keel, I hole up in my room with a book or my phone for as long as possible or necessary. Giving yourself a time-out is a great way to relax and burn off some stress.

Call or Text a Friend

I hate the phone. I do not like calling people, and I don’t much enjoy video chatting unless it serves a purpose (like when I call my dad for fix-it help). However, this new social distancing has been hard on me. I’m naturally extroverted and I need people.

Venting and commiserating with friends has been a lifesaver. We need to know we are not alone, and that goes for our kids, too. I try to remember this and make sure they have some phone time with friends – they may not think they miss school, but they do miss their people.

And those, friends, are my three lifelines when we have had too much of a good thing.

What has worked for your when it’s been too much family time?


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