Well, it’s that time again! School is starting, and that means carpools, PTA meetings, sports and activities to keep busy. Between work and school, it can be difficult for the family to get together. How, you ask, can we give our kids the family time they need? At least once a week, use some of these ideas to get you started.
~ Have a meal at the table. Get the kids to help out preparing dishes or setting the table. While your eating, turn off televisions, phones, and other distracting electronics. Use this time to engage in conversation. Not sure what to talk about? Try asking about everyones day. Was it good or bad, and why? Does anyone have plans for the upcoming week or something special they want to do? Break free from reality and bring up some interesting topics to talk about. If you had a super power, what would it be? If you were stuck on as island, what three things would you like with you? Get creative and use your imagination!
~ Start a game night. Cards or board games are fun for kids of all ages! Start out with something simple, like go fish or war with cards. Then break out the board games. Yahtzee is great! If you have all night, go for a game of Life or Monopoly which can take a little bit of time. Playing games not only teaches how to kindly interact with others, but also how to handle winning and losing in an appropriate manner. Games incorporate fun and learning for both parents and children.
~ Get out of the house. Take a walk around the neighborhood. If you have pets, they would probably like to go too. Have a park nearby? Head there for a picnic and a ride on the swings or merry-go-round. Get everyone involved in a game of tag or bring a ball for some catch. Surrounded by woods? Go for a hike along a trail. Point out things along the way such as the sassafras plant which is edible, or the poison ivy to stay away from. Find the animals who live there – squirrels, birds, chipmunks, and so on. Gather leaves and pinecones for some crafts to do once you get back to the house. Fresh air is good for everyone, so get out of here and go outside!
~ Support each other for individual activities. Is there an upcoming dance recital, football game or band competition one of the family members are involved in? Gather the whole family and go support them! Feel free to yell and scream (where appropriate) to let them know you’re there!
Family interaction is important because it creates positive social skills both within, and outside of, the family. Spending time together can facilitate communication between all family members, and therefore, strengthen the family structure. Hopefully, some of these ideas will bring your family together. Now go to your calendar and mark down when your first family time will be!