Time fills up so quickly these days with homework, sports, chores and parent work schedules. It seems like there is less and less time to create family connection. We keep thinking it will happen tomorrow, next week, over the holiday, next year. But … most of the time, it doesn’t happen. Why? We are not setting the time aside to make it happen. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you eat dinner together as a family? (or breakfast?)
- Does your whole family attend sporting or other events that one member is involved in?
- Do you pray or share gratitudes as a family daily?
- Do you have a date night with your spouse? With each child?
- Do you read together?
- Do you ask your children how school was every day and actually listen to the answer? (Or, do they just say “fine” and you move on?)
Family time is important and it can easily get put on the back burner. Before we know it, the opportunity to create family connection, traditions and memories is gone. If you want to instill family values and traditions in your children, you need to take the time to create them today.
Here are five tips for creating family connection:
Tip No. 1
- Make a January through December list on a piece of paper (top to bottom).
- As a family, come up with 12 family “events” that everyone would enjoy participating in. They can be weekends, evenings, day trips, backyard or family room campouts, special dinners, movies, etc.
- For each month on your sheet of paper, write one of the 12 events down. You should end up with all of your ideas on that list, with no blank months.
- Depending on the ages of your children, ask who wants to be the coordinator for each month’s activity (a different member of the family for each month).
- Begin planning January’s family event and calendar a reminder to put together February’s event (incorporate the holidays when possible).
Tip No. 2
- Pick a night (preferably weekly) for mom and dad’s “date night.” Find a babysitter, or send the children to grandma’s or a friend’s house for a couple of hours, so you can have devoted alone time.
- Put it on the calendar the same night of each week, and plan for it.
- Alternate who is in charge of planning for the special time together.
Tip No. 3
- Plan date nights with your kids. It can be hot cocoa and a card game or watching a movie together snuggled up on the couch, taking a walk, making dinner together, building something, swinging at the park. The point is that each parent has one-on-one time with each child on a regular basis. I know … it’s time consuming. It doesn’t have to be four hours. It can be one hour or 20 minutes. It can even be all on the same night. It just needs to be quality, focused, one-on-one, “I care about you” time.
Tip No. 4
- Make sure you plan some time for yourself. If you are empty, you have nothing to give. What fills your tank? Dads … is it a football game with the guys? Working out at the gym? Working in the garage undisturbed? What fills you up? Moms … a nice hot bath with no interruptions? Some girl time with friends? Someone else cooking?
- Plan this once a week, if possible; definitely no less than once a month.
Tip No. 5
- Once a month (minimally) have a family meeting. Talk about the monthly “event,” how quality date nights are going, how everyone is doing, who needs what, etc.
Invest in any or all of these five things over the next 12 months and see what happens. If you want a strong, healthy family and to create great character in your children, you need to be willing to invest time and attention in creating it. Your return on investment (ROI) will be amazing.
The most important thing is to put it on your calendar now. Don’t keep putting it off. The kids are growing too quickly. You will miss the opportunity.
Have an amazing year of creating family connection, love and lasting memories. For more great parenting tips and ideas, sign up for our free newsletter!