Time is moving more quickly than ever. Whether we are in a holiday season, a summer break or another time of year, it seems we are always full speed ahead. Weekdays are full and weekends are short. That part isn’t new, but the lack of energy, motivation and excitement our kids have about life is!
As the days, weeks, months and years go by, we look back and either feel good about the changes we made or we feel bad and hope the next year will be different. If you experience the latter, your kids are learning to create that very same thing.
Here is a wonderful exercise you can do with your family:
- Schedule a day and time for a “family meeting”.
- Ask each person what they’d like to have at that meeting to make it fun. Would they like music, ice cream, inside/outside, etc.? Let them get creative. You want participation; allowing creativity and fun is the price.
- After you agree on the details, put the meeting on your calendar and plan for it.
- On the day of the family meeting, provide paper, pens, crayons, etc. for everyone to use.
- Bring a “talking stick” (something you can pass around so that whoever is speaking is the only person speaking; everyone else is listening) and explain its purpose before you begin.
- Ask each person to write down (or draw a picture) of what they like to do as a family on an average day at home. Take your time and enjoy the process. If you have young children, you may need to cut things short due to their attention span; that’s okay. The more fun things you include, the longer they will be engaged. (This is great quality time!)
- Once everyone has finished writing or drawing, ask for volunteers to share what they put on their paper. (Remember to use the talking stick. It teaches children how to listen.)
- Acknowledge and praise each member for their great ideas and drawings.
- Make a master list that includes everyone’s ideas.
- Find a way to incorporate the ideas into your daily/weekly calendar. Do whatever works to include each member’s ideas.
As you work through this process, you’ll find that the hardest part is finding space on your calendar. This is how you take a stand for what’s important; family. As a society, we tend to fit our family in after school, work, homework, sports, dance, dinner, bath, etc. No wonder a year or two, or five, go by and we still haven’t set time aside. That’s why it’s important to start putting these items on your calendar first, and to build everything else around it.
It is our responsibility as parents to show our children that relationships have value and the time we spend together as a family is more important than any other activity. We have to prioritize, plan and execute so that our values show up in our daily routine. This is how children find balance in their adult lives. Without it, they will be at the effect of a world that moves fast and leaves them feeling empty.
Every day is an opportunity to choose priorities. Every day is a new start. You get to choose what is healthy for you and your family. What a tremendous gift that is! Take advantage of each moment and enjoy a fantastic Thanksgiving!
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She is known for her intuitive and practical approach to parenting. Schedule a free phone consultation here! Or contact Traci directly at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.