Making Time for the Little Things
Remember their cute little toes and the way they cooed and babbled as a baby? Or the way your spouse smiles at you for no apparent reason at all? These little things live on in your memory because, even though they seem to be small, insignificant details, they are the moments that make life worth living and define you as a parent. Sometimes life and work make you forget that it is important to spend time with the people who mean the most. Setting aside some time that does not necessarily have to be at night is a good way to build and maintain a relationship with your spouse, kids, siblings, or parents. This time should be spent with as little distractions as possible because in today’s busy world family can get left behind by something as small as a text tone. Family time is about you and your family and everything and everyone else can wait. Below you will find some suggestions on things you can do or ways to overcome things like age differences and schedule conflicts.
Electronic Games and Good Old Fashioned Board Games
These are classic and modern ways for families to spend time together. You may think that electronic games might not allow enough interaction among players but most electronic games that allow multiple players do get players talking. From encouraging team work to praising each other for winning and taunting one another for losing, verbal interaction is a big part of playing electronic games. Electronic games are as competitive as board games but much faster paced. Traditional board games, on the other hand, are a little slower paced and allow more time to joke around and laugh. Games like Monopoly and Life have recently been updated to include new graphics and scenarios that are more consistent with modern society. Although some electronic games emphasize things like counting and reading, board games really help enhance these skills because counting and reading are not done by computers. Either way, playing games is a fun way to become closer to your loved ones.
Get Outside and Enjoy the Great Outdoors
From taking hikes to playing tag to throwing the old baseball around, being outdoors with your family will bring new and exciting adventures for you to remember. There are many excuses that people and parents in particular use to keep from spending time with the family outside. The truth of the matter is that you are setting an example for those younger than you. Spending time outside promotes good overall physical health. Fresh air is better for everyone than laying or sitting on the couch.
Do Not Under Estimate Arts and Crafts
Although crafts have become increasingly more outdated, they are still fun projects to do, especially with elementary and preschool age kids. Getting a little messy and creative with paint and glue is fun for kids. If you feel overwhelmed with arts and crafts start slow by bringing out some paper and crayons every once in a while and let the creative juices flow. Sunshine and rainbows are better than the constant “Later, I’m busy” response. Let your kids or spouse know that underneath that hard working mom or dad is still a fun loving, wide eyed wonderer they can still connect with.
Chores and Teamwork
If you notice the home has been getting increasingly messy, make family time a time to do chores. Chores may not sound like a fun way to spend the morning or afternoon but they are a good way to build team working skills. This emphasizes the notion that it is not just the parent’s job to clean up after everyone. Each individual has a responsibility to everyone else to clean their area or do their part in a larger chore, such as rinsing dishes while someone else washes. With supervision, even younger kids can help by picking items up from the floor. It is better to work as a family to clean up than have one person becoming stressed about having to do so much cleaning.
Go Out Every Now and Then
Sometimes you just have to get out of the house and physically do something. A vacation from home whether it be for a month, a week, or a day can alleviate stress, not only for you, but for your spouse and kids too. Check out a movie. Hang out at the beach. Go to a theme park. Take a walk. Go to a museum. Go to the park. Find something that interests you all or take turns going to places you each find interesting. Where ever you decide to go, make sure you are still interacting with one another. Ask questions and make discussions. Family time is not something you can do individually.
Make Teams or Buddy Up For Younger Kids
No one likes to get left behind and, if you have a little one at home, it can be tricky to include them in family time with older kids. An easy way to overcome this challenge is to make teams or buddies. Put the younger child on a team or with a buddy who is older and can help explain game rules or help guide them through doing household chores. Be careful though, do not let the buddy be the same person every time. You want your little one to spend time with every family member equally. He or she should act more like a floater and go from family member to family member. In the end, this will allow each person a turn to teach their younger sibling or child something and strengthen bonds.
If You Do Not Have Time, Make Time or Save It For Later
Families today have so many things going on with their schedule. Work, school, extra curricular activities, sleep, friends, and family are all shoved together in one 24 hour day. This is why family time is so important but, if family time has to get interrupted, save it for later. This does not mean put arts and crafts way and do not ever get back to them. This means save the electronic game, set the board game or arts and crafts on the kitchen table, or another highly visible place, and return to it later. The important part is "return to it later." Do not simply end something and then forget about it. When children and teens see others procrastinate they assume it is acceptable. It is not but there are somethings that cannot be avoided. in those times set aside your activity and save it for another time but make sure it gets done.
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The suggestions above are not, by any means, the only ways to have fun with your family. Ask them what they want to do. No child is too small to tell you how he or she would like to spend time. Infants and babies obviously prefer to be home but interact with them. Talk to them and give them more than enough kisses and hugs. Toddlers are becoming more verbal and can say yes and no verbally or through body language. Take things at their pace. Children are usually more willing to spend time with you doing anything from reading to visiting a local amusement park. Teens may be a little harder to communicate with but find out how they feel and what they are interested in and go from there. Do not let your family become strangers. Keep the conversation going because communication is the key. Family ties and bonds are the most valuable connections a person can have and spending just a few minutes a day together can make a big difference.
© 2012 morningstar18