New Year New You: More Family Time

The following posts are from our January 2014 series “New Year, a New You.”  One article will be posted each day in January to discuss building a better you.  Article topics will vary every day.  We will present various ways to improve your life physically, spiritually, financially and emotionally. Click here to view previous posts.

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Everyone would love more hours in the day – especially the moms and the dads. Children are life’s greatest blessings, but in the blink of the eye it seems they go from children to adults. Your family time is important and precious, and time spent with them are memories they’ll carry forever.

So if one of your New Year goals is more family time, here are some ways to get you started.

1. Turn It OFF – The Television
We all KNOW we can get by without it, but still it seems to be on in our humble abodes way more than it should be. Television is a time and brain-drain. So during meals, after dinner, in bed – just turn it off.Play a game, read, tell your kids a story from your childhood, or even have them tell you a story. Make sure to do something other than sit in front of the TV for an hour.

2. Plan Meals For Family Dinners
Fill your cabinets with items that will help you to prepare simple, quick dinners at least a few nights a week. Find easy, delicious recipes online – Pinterest is FULL of ideas. Don’t spend hours making the perfect sauce when you can buy excellent sauce at the grocery store. Save some of that cooking time for crafting, playing or even bath time. Your kids will remember those nights spent together more than they will a fancy supper. Family dinners (with the TV off) lead to better
nutrition, better school performance, and better teen behavior.

3. Catch Some Zzzz’s
Sleep is better than a magic potion when it comes to adding downtime to your schedule. When you’re well-rested you’re in a better mood, you’re calm and you can get things done more efficiently. Same goes for the kids. This might mean saying “no” to something or somebody. Prioritize and get organized so bedtimes can remain firm, for the kids and for you. Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.

4. Ask for Some Input
Ask your kiddies for their input on meals, outings, books for story-time, and clothing choices. The more kids can do for themselves the more time you will find yourself with each day. Kids are more likely to eat a meal they’ve requested (even if an appetizer of popcorn makes
an appearance now and then). And if their outfit happens not to coordinate with their shoe choice the world will keep on-a-spinnin’.

5. Get Out of Town
It doesn’t have to be to Disney World or Six Flags, it can just be a weekend away or a simple day trip like Grandma and Grandpa’s house, a museum, or a nearby, new city waiting to be discovered. Map it out or just get in the car and direct the vehicle where the kids tell you and see where you end up. It gets you all together and reminds you why you like each other so much.

6. Get Active
There are lots of classes you can take with babies which combine your own need for exercise with bonding time with baby. Get moving AND awaken your inner child with Flag football, Duck Duck Goose, Red Rover, Hopscotch, JumpRope, Water balloons/Sprinklers, Sidewalk chalk, a walk
with Fido, plant a family garden, dance night, and so on and so on. Just thirty to sixty minutes of moving.

7. Post Those Activities
This month add a calendar to your kitchen, or the highest traffic area in your home. There are many different ways to make calendars; sticky notes, chalkboards, large paper or even a store bought calendar works. Sit down with your kids at the beginning of every month and write in
appointments, school events, work events, and/or birthday parties. Get it all written down so you can see where your time is actually going.

8. Let the Professionals Handle It
It may seem wrong, but hiring someone to do the cleaning or yard work might just be the ticket. Hire a landscaper to get the yard ready for spring or just someone to shovel the walk. All of a sudden you’ve bought yourself a day or even an just hour to spend with your kids. Rent a movie, pop some popcorn, get out the craft supplies or just go for a walk.

The connections you make with your family can make all the difference for your them, and for you.

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