Start This Positive Routine Now.
My husband and I went through a challenging time last year when our son’s poor grades became an issue. It became a pass or fail issue… pull up the grade or fail a class. This wasn’t the first time our son had made the choice to skip doing homework and studying, so it was frustrating, to say the least.
Parents who have been through this know the issue can take over a household. First, the pressure is on the child to get the work completed, turned in, and recorded (quickly). Second, parents end up becoming the monitors of the process. Not a fun time, and not a fun environment!
We had been through this with him before, and with our daughter as well, (just being honest), but after this round, our son shared something that delivered us a painful wake-up call.
He told us he felt that all we talked about as a family was his grades and school. Moreover, he felt sad that we never did anything fun together anymore. Ouch.
He was right.
Our kids grew up with parents who planned fun events! We camped, went on day trips, traveled a bit, enjoyed Supercross, watched and played Little League, etc. But our kids started growing up and became busy. During that same time, our family went through a few serious health issues. Apparently, life sidetracked us, and the “fun” times slipped through our fingers without us realizing it.
Our son bravely sharing that observation was exactly what we needed to make a change. I am sharing this story now because school is starting again. School is important, but family time is crucial.
Your kids need your time, your hugs, and they need that family bond. Things might be crazy in the world, but spending time together can be a much-needed escape. It will allow your kids to feel grounded, included, loved, and capable of taking on big things.
This interaction also builds trust and allows for “sharing” time. It can be helpful for children to be able to bring up uncomfortable subjects if they so desire. Equally, it can be a time for parents to share helpful advice on important life subjects.
They need to be reminded that “we”, their parents, are their “safe place”. (This may help them to avoid feeling the need for another way to escape. Every child is different, but it’s worth a try!).
But most of all, it can be fun!
We now commit to at least one day a month to do something as a family – just the four us. We don’t include friends, extended family, nor boyfriends or girlfriends but we DO try to include Ranger. (Ranger is our nearly 100-pound Labrador Retriever who thinks he’s a human).
Our schedules might not be as easy to maneuver as they once were, but we make it work. We all pull out our schedules and then make a plan. We love our day trips, family dinners, and love laughing together. Soon we’ll be planning a bit of holiday travel and that will be fun as well!
Are you ready for our list?
Top 10 Family Day Ideas for Busy Families.
Take a Drive to Nature.
- 1) Hit the Beach. For us, our drives usually land us at the beach. The beach allows us to take Ranger and fun is had by all!
- 2) Head for the Hills. Many families enjoy hiking together. Do a bit of research if you’re unsure of the best local hiking spots and give it a try.
Try a New Activity and Get Some Exercise.
- 3) Has your family ever bowled together? Have you roller-skated together? Jumped on a trampoline together? Find a local establishment to visit, or buy equipment and try it at home! The exercise and endorphins will be great for your health, and the laughs may be many!
Share a Meal.
- 4) Enjoy Sunday breakfast. If you are a family who enjoys attending church on Sundays (or any other day for that matter), commit to wrapping up the morning with a nice breakfast. It doesn’t matter if it’s at home or at a restaurant as long as you’re together. And if you have a great cook in the family, all the better!
- 5) Serve up a Sunday dinner. There is something about having dinner together as you wrap up a weekend and prepare to start a new week. Chatting about the coming week while preparing dinner together can make for great family time!
- 6) Bake up something delicious! Search for recipes and get to work. Put family members in charge of different baking duties and have fun. Reaping the rewards later will be enjoyable as well!
Plan a Dream Vacation Together.
- 7) Sit down together and plan a someday “dream” vacation. Someone can be in charge of searching the internet while others are throwing out ideas and taking notes. Along with the destinations, you can also discuss how to make it happen financially. Strategizing together can be fun on this one.
- 8) Helping others is a wonderful thing… why not do it together? If you have a favorite charity, find out how you can help them locally. You can also find out if a local church, your child’s school, or even an animal shelter needs help. There is strength in numbers and you will be your own team! The feeling of selfless giving will be the best part of all.
Look at Old Photos and Watch Home Movies.
- 9) Kids LOVE seeing pictures of themselves. Set aside a few hours together to watch home movies and/or look through old photo albums. It’s fun to retell the stories of their childhoods (and perhaps your childhood too!) and is a great way to bond. If you don’t have photo albums or are behind in your memory keeping, create something new! You can sort photos together, trim newspaper articles, gather admission tickets from amusement parks, and create something truly special because you did it together.
Plan for Christmas Shopping or an Upcoming Holiday Event.
- 10) In many families, “Mom” takes on Christmas shopping. However, spending time together while creating an ideas list for your loved ones can be fun. Or maybe you’re planning to host an upcoming holiday get together. Brainstorm on a new dessert or meal idea and take advantage of those creative young minds.
The ideas are endless. Just commit to doing something. Pull out those schedules, talk to your family members, and put something on the calendar! Don’t let another day go by without doing this!
You will never regret the time spent with your children… and your children will always be blessed for it. Make the time.