Post written by Sherri Kruger. Follow me on Twitter.
Are you spending as much quality time with your family as you would like?
I’m too busy, I don’t have time right now or I’m too tired. Sound familiar? I’m sure we’ve all said one of these on at least one occasion.
It has been my observation that many people spend more time at jobs, with coworkers, on hobbies, and on interests than with their own family. Many people have poured their heart, souls and time into their jobs “for their families” only to come out the other end not knowing their own kids or spouses.
If you see yourself heading down this path or are already well on your way it’s not too late to turn around. Spend some time each day to reconnect with your family members. Here are 10 things you can do to open the lines of communication and start reconnecting with your family.
1. Family photo albums. Pull those dusty photo albums off the shelf and take a trip back in time. Kids love looking at pictures of themselves when they were little and hearing of all the cute things they did. Take some time to sit with your own parents or grandparents and learn more about their story. What was it like when they were growing up? It’s interesting because we often forget that our grandparents or parents were our age once and likely acted very differently to how they do now.
2. Reduce distractions. If your typical evening consists of returning home from work and switching off in front of the TV until it’s time to go to bed, switch it off. Time vanishes when you’re sitting in front of the TV. Turn it off and enjoy the sounds of your family around you. Talk about what you accomplished that day or what you’re going to do this weekend. Really listen to what your family has to say, get interested in it and have fun.
3. Family game night. Why not kick start the weekend with a night of games with the family? Pull out the old board games or learn a new card game. Strike up a conversation of what you could possibly do tomorrow as a family. A game night at home doesn’t have to cost anything, it’s comfortable and can be a lot of fun. This is my favorite way to reconnect with my family.
4. Learn. Spend some time together learning a new sport, hobby or game. If you’ve never made a bird house get some plans and the materials and work through it together as a team. Do your children or parents have hobbies that you haven’t been a part of? Show some interest and get them to teach YOU how it’s done. You’ll learn something new while helping solidify your child’s understanding of that hobby as well.
5. Exercise. Exercising as a family has two main benefits. Firstly, exercise is important to your overall health. It is just as important for children and teens to be active as it is for you. Encouraging physical activity early on can set your kids on the right path for a healthy life. Secondly, you are able to spend time together inside, outside, or at the gym getting fit and reconnecting. Find common interests and activities you all enjoy. If your whole family is involved it’s easier to keep each other motivated and to stick with it.
6. Talk. Sounds simple right? It is in theory but in practice it can be a bit difficult if not awkward. The best way to approach it is to just do it. Remove yourself from distractions and strike up a conversation with your mom, dad, children, or sister. Make sure you’re not the only one doing all the talking though, it’s equally important to listen. Listen without judgement or feeling the need to solve all of the other persons problems. Many times others will feel better just having vocalized what’s troubling them. Be open and patient. Heart to hearts are a great way to gain a better understanding of someone, what they are interested in and what might be troubling them.
7. Bake. If you enjoy being in the kitchen try baking a special treat to share. Try a new recipe or an old family favorite. Include everyone in this activity. Let one measure, one mix, one pour and so on. A favorite in my house is chocolate chip cookies. Our eldest son loves being a part of everything we do and really likes the finished product. We always have a lot of fun and hopefully it’ll be a task he continues to enjoy.
8. One on one time. This is the most effective way to reconnect with one other person. This doesn’t have to mean sitting and talking for an entire afternoon, although that’s nice too. For example, date nights with my husband are a chance to get out without the kids and actually have a quiet conversation. We don’t do this nearly as much as we’d like to.
I recently spent the day with my niece, just me and her. We both loved it. She got to ride with Auntie in the car, go to the shops to get supplies and had lunch. This was followed by strawberry picking so we could make jam. The majority of her time was spent leaping over and running up and down the rows of plants (eating strawberries was a close second). We had such a great time because she wasn’t competing for attention that would otherwise have been shared between her, her brother and two cousins. She wasn’t with her mom so “mom rules” didn’t apply, although Auntie rules are a close second. The point is you don’t have to do anything overly exciting for it to be fun, just have fun.
9. Take a trip. Trips don’t have to be to an exotic location far away, they can literally be in your own back yard. If you don’t have enough time for a proper camping trip, why not set up the tent and have a bonfire in your backyard? Or pack a picnic set up the sprinkler and spend the day outside. With a little creativity and imagination you can be anywhere you want. Weekend trips out of town are a great way to remove yourself and your family from the monotony of everyday home life. Break out of your routine get away from all of those things you “should” be doing and relax, have fun.
10. Host a dessert party. This is an easy, fun and very tasty way to reconnect with extended family or kids who have already left home. Choose some of your families favorite sweet treats and serve them buffet style on the dining room table. Have a variety of dishes to sample ranging from a soft pudding or decadent cream pie to rich cookies or a cherry chocolate cheesecake. Choose some nice wines that will compliment the sweets as well as milk, tea and coffee. This is a lovely and relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening with family.
There are countless ways for you to reconnect with your family. There is no right way to go about it and each family is unique. You know your family better than anyone so give some thought as to what may work and what won’t. Don’t be afraid to try somethings and leave them if they aren’t working for anyone. The most important thing to do is start. Your family awaits.