If you’re like many people, time with your family was at the top of your New Year’s resolution list. Now you are wondering how can you possibly do that – you are overwhelmed, overwhelmed, and exhausted most of the time. They just mainly want to get through what needs to be done today.
It doesn’t take much to fall short in the back office – a request from the boss to work late, a friend needs your help, your parents make an unreasonable request. Only one in five manages to keep a New Year’s resolution for six months or more. and 30 percent of us give up by February.
Here are some easy ways to have some meaningful time with your kids and face the odds by keeping your resolve throughout the year. These “five minutes more or less” suggestions will improve your face-to-face conversation with your children and build your bond and their fond memories of growing up. You can adjust them no matter how overwhelmed and over-planned you or your children are:
- Put your phone away as soon as you walk in the door.
- Check your email and call back after the kids are in bed.
- Make your schedule and your children’s schedule easier by eliminating an activity or two.
- When you volunteer, do so at your child’s school or with their sports team so you can be together.
- Say “no” to non-essential commitments that keep you away when your children are at home.
- Involve your children in the preparation of dinner (even a three year old can tear up lettuce for the salad)
Busy family bond in five minutes more or less
- After dinner, turn on the radio and dance with the kids for a few minutes.
- Be creative: sing a wake-up song every morning that includes your child’s name.
- Include your child in meal planning. Children have surprisingly good suggestions.
- Prepare the shopping list together.
- Tell jokes to your children and laugh at theirs.
- Create a song with the names of all family members and sing it in the car on the way to an exercise or lesson, or before bed.
- Express your opinions. By sharing values and beliefs, your children will know what and how you think.
- Put schoolwork in a box with each child’s name, “Mike – 2nd Grade” to show your interest. It will encourage them to work harder.
- Ask your children regularly what was the best and worst part of their day or week.
- Act silly. For example, chase your child around the house or pretend to be an airplane and get on them. Be ridiculous!
- Never be too busy to watch your children’s homemade magic or puppet shows and plays. Hop in; clap loudly!
- Teach your child a card trick.
- Grow a plant together. You could stick toothpicks in a sweet potato and place them in a glass of water near a kitchen window. Check it out together every few days.
- When you get home late, call your kiss goodnight and promise a personal kiss as soon as you arrive.
- Spend five minutes before dinner throwing a baseball or kicking a soccer ball. It’s a great way to relax and start a conversation.
- Take your child out for an unexpected treat like ice cream or a donut after a visit to the doctor.
- Start a pillow fight.
- Include your children in making plans for the coming weekend.
For more ideas that go a long way in building lasting family relationships, see Susan Newman’s Little Things Long Remembered at www.susannewmanphd.com