Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your family has a day full of family, fun and Thankfulness!
Today is the ‘kick-off’ to the holiday season, so what better time to talk about creating more family time. Slowing down and enjoying our moments is important, not just during the holiday season, but all year round. Incorporating some real practical strategies to connect with your family and spend time with those who matter to you most is important to keep our life in balance.
If you don’t think you have enough family time, remember- creating time is a choice. I encourage you to choose wisely by following these six tips:
Discover the power of 15 minutes
You can find at least 15 minutes in your day to spend with your family. It might be cuddle time with your children, or time to read to them or speak with them, or take a walk with your partner, or cook a meal together. Those 15 minutes with you being fully present with your family really count.
Have a weekly family night
Each week schedule a family night—one hour or longer. Start with less time and build up. One family member selects what the family will do. You each take turns. This week you may pick dinner out. Next week your son may choose a family video or your daughter a special family game, or a TV show, or walk, or shop—it really doesn’t matter as long as you all do it together and you don’t break the date. This is quality time to be together and enjoy each other and an event.
Plan a monthly 24-hour recovery day
Plan one day a month where you have a day at home. Simply spend the day with your family. You don’t have to do anything special, just be together and experience being a family. We call these ‘pajama days’ in our home and they have been a favorite for quite some time! Recovery days are appointments you never break. You’ll be replenished, renewed and reconnected.
The Family that Eats Together Stays Together
Recent studies have shown that not only do children like to sit down at the dinner table and eat a meal with their parents, but they are more likely to eat a well-balanced, nutritious meal when they do. But with the hectic lives we seem to lead these days, getting the family all together in the same place at the same time can be a difficult chore.
Set a standard for your family to eat together a certain number of nights per week. Setting up the expectation is key in making it a priority for your family. Involve your children in the meal planning and preparation (if you are stuck in this area – make sure you check out the special eMeals is offering below – 30% off) This gives them a strong sense of self and the foundation for a lifetime of healthy meal planning and preparation. I love the evenings when my teen is in charge of dinner! It is certainly a fun atmosphere in our home as he tries a new recipe and everyone is gathered around the kitchen.
Make sure the television is off, and make it a rule that all phone calls go to voice mail or the answering machine during the meal. Take this time to visit with one another and enjoy one another’s company. This is a great time to reconnect and find out what events happened this week. Take your time eating, and teach your children how to do the same in the process. Eating slowly is a healthy habit. Don’t jump up and start clearing dishes and putting things away until everyone is done eating and talking.
Lunch and listen
Make a lunch date with your spouse or your kids or both and grab a bite together. We made it a special treat to have one of us show up at school to have lunch with our kids. This was a fun way to get in a few extra minutes during the day, plus it made them feel extra special. I am sure your spouse would feel the same as well, surprise them or make a date – either way it will allow some extra time to connect. An extra added benefit – it is nearly always cheaper to have lunch out than dinner – so take advantage of that and plan a few lunch dates during the month. This has been a huge blessing in our marriage. Focus on them and on hearing them and learning more about them. You’ll feel closer.
Make family a priority
If it were your last day on earth, what would you do? Be with your loved ones. Plan to be with your family and plan your time. Ask yourself “What am I missing?” Add that to your life. Make your family a first priority, and think about what you can gain from your time together.
Here are a few resources to help create a simple holiday season, create family traditions and finding the peace you can carry through out the year.
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One of my recent favorites – which includes some awesome printables too -Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Season
What is your favorite way to spend intentional time together as a family?
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