Being together today
Across the world today, families are constantly evolving. The ‘traditional’ model of two parents is decreasing as different constellations of families like single parents, re-established two parents, communities and multi-generations become more commonplace. No matter their make-up, families today face the same stressors like smaller living spaces, less time at home and increased use of technology.
of children aged 7-12 surveyed would rather play with their parents than watch television; more than 38%would like their parents to play more with them.
of parents agree that ‘I am very concerned about keeping my children safe and feel I have to be overprotective of them in this world’.
In 2010, IKEA conducted one of the largest studies ever on family life, child development and the importance of play. The study resulted in ‘The Play Report’, our findings from the survey fieldwork carried out in 25 countries. Here are few key points we learned about how today’s families feel about life and what challenges they face.
Only 9% of children agree that ‘when I play I always have to play with toys’.
dividerDo nothing together
Do nothing - together. There’s no rulebook about spending time together. It’s not restricted to a certain room or to following a set schedule. Sometimes the best moments come unplanned when everybody’s together but not doing anything special. Make space to just hang out together like pillow-filled corners, big sofas and long tables.
Think like a childLet children help
Get the look
If you could do with some help bringing your family together, maybe some of the solutions we used for the Lims might work for you too.
Think like a child. It may not have a swing set or slide, but home is a child’s main playground. Try seeing your world through their eyes to make home a place that encourages creativity, imagination and play.
Let children help. Learning by doing is an important part of growing up, even if it can be messy. Make it easier for children to help with activities such as setting the table for dinner just by having things at home in their size and height.
Make room for moments
 Start their creativity with our range of role play toysFind the perfect dining set for momentsBrowse our range of cushions for comfort when doing nothing together
Best moments come unplanned
Time to bring the family together. At IKEA, we believe that home time is happy time, where laughter and smiles are worth their weight in gold, and don't have to cost a fortune. All it takes is a little imagination.
Watch how we helped the whole of the Lim family change the way they host dinners for their friends and family. And particularly how they got the kids much more involved.
Here are some more videos with products to help bring the family together during the festive period
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The average British family only gets 15 days a year where they’re able to enjoy proper quality time together, it emerged yesterday. In fact, just 36 minutes a day is the average time a family gets to spend with one another without distraction amid a hectic domestic life. Christmas Day, Sunday roasts and playing in the garden during the summer were the common key instances when we really get to enjoy time together as a family. Visiting the grandparents, reading to the children at night and lazy Sundays also gave everyone a chance to feel like a proper family, the study of 2,000 found. Gemma Arranz, a spokesperson for IKEA which commissioned the study, said: “Family life gets more hectic as time goes on, so it’s not surprising that Christmas Day is when we spend the most time together in one go. “Modern family life is hectic for many parents. Daily chores and housework are an essential part of family life but can also make home life feel very routine. We want to help parents to make the most of this time and see it as an opportunity for interaction and engagement with their kids, not something that gets in the way. ”Nearly half of those polled felt they weren’t getting the balance right in terms of time spent being with their loved ones. Working long or anti-social hours was the most common stumbling block, while evenings and weekends dominated by household chores and frantic routines were common. That leads to just over half an hour a day that families get to be with one another without regular distraction but even then it’s not easy- eight in ten parents admit they often battle with the TV or videogames to get the kids’ attention.

Despite the majority of families having good intentions to organise things for the family to do as a whole at weekends, plans fall through a quarter of the time due to things getting in the way, results showed. No surprises then that 55 per cent of families say they suffer from a hectic domestic life. And modern life does seem to take its toll – more than 70 per cent admitted there are regular instances when the whole family sits in front of the television in silence because they’re too tired for conversation. Nearly three quarters of mums and dads felt their children were growing up too fast, yet six in ten said their weekly routine doesn’t leave them enough time to enjoy their kids at the age they are. In fact, nearly a third have missed key moments in their child’s development because of their hectic routine keeping them away. Liz Fraser, author and broadcaster said: “There’s no doubt that the pace of life now is far faster than it ever has been; but it needn’t eat away at our family lives as much as it does. “I’m as guilty as the next parent of not being ‘present’ enough in my family; I’m too often on the phone, emailing, tweeting and so on, instead of BEING THERE. But it takes very little to stop, think about what is going on right in front of us, put away the distractions, turn down the non-essential phone meetings, and spend time WITH your family. “It’s an old cliché but it’s true; time goes by SO fast, and you only have to blink and these Golden years of being together as a family are gone! You just have to find ways to remember to STOP, and enjoy them while they’re there.”
Liz Fraser's Top Tips
1. Switch it OFF. Every evening, put your electronic gizmos AWAY for a while. This includes phones, iPads and computers. When a phone is on it can beep, and the second it beeps you will give it your attention. Don't! Give your attention to your family.
2. Quality not quantity. You don't have to give the entire weekend to 'quality family time'; just a Sunday afternoon or Saturday morning is fine. But make sure you DO IT.
5. Make 1-on-1 time with each child; if everything is a Big Family Outing it can seem overwhelming. Just an hour with one child alone can be so much more beneficial and bonding.
4. Make spaces in your house where you can actually be together. A cosy corner, a bean bag, a high sleeper with the children's books and toys underneath, a sofa with lots of cushions; just a place where you can sit comfortably and be together really helps to have that quiet time together.
3. Remember how fast these days will go by;
if you see every day as a day with your children that you'll never get back again you are more likely to use it to find those twenty minutes to stop shouting at everyone and rushing around, and just TALK to each other, play, read, laugh, watch a film together and so on.
Top 10 occassions where family squeeze in quality time together: Christmas Day, on holiday, lazy Sundays, going out for a meal, watching a film together, the Sunday Roast, playing in the garden in summer, visiting the grandparents, reading with children at night, playing board games.

• Gemma Arranz is the Communication and Interior Design Manager for IKEA UK and Ireland.
• TV presenter, author and mum Liz Fraser, is a parenting expert and regularly appears on shows from Daybreak to This Morning. She is also the author of best-selling parenting help books The Yummy Mummy’s Family Handbook and The Yummy Mummy’s Survival Guide. Liz has written pieces for an array of family-friendly titles from the Daily Mail to Red. She is a regular contributor to Mumsnet.