If you’re like many people, you’ve put spending time with your family at or near the top of your New Year’s resolution list. Now you’re wondering how you can possibly do it–you’re over-extended, overwhelmed, and exhausted most of the time. You mainly just want to get through what has to be done today.
It doesn’t take much to fall short in the resolution department–a request from the boss to work late, a friend needs your help, your parent makes an unreasonable demand. Only one in five people manages to keep a New Year’s resolution six months or longer; and, 30 percent of us give up by February.
Here are some simple ways to squeeze in meaningful time with your children and defy the odds by keeping your resolution throughout the year. These “Five Minutes More or Less” suggestions will enhance your one-on-one time with your children and build your bond and their fond memories of growing up. You’ll be able to fit them in no matter how over-committed and over-scheduled you or your children are:
Making the Time
- Put away your cell phone once you walk in the door.
- Check your e-mail and return phone calls after the children are in bed.
- Lighten up your and your children’s schedules by eliminating an activity or two.
- If you volunteer, do so at your child’s school or with his or her sports team so you can be together.
- Say “No” to nonessential commitments that keep you away when your children are home.
- Involve your children in dinner preparation (even a three-year-old can tear lettuce for the salad).
Busy Family Bonding in Five Minutes More or Less
- After dinner, turn up the radio and dance with your children for a few minutes.
- Be creative: sing a wake-up song each morning that includes your child’s name.
- Include your child in meal planning. Children have surprisingly good suggestions.
- Prepare the grocery list together.
- Tell your children jokes and laugh at theirs.
- Create a song with the names of all family members and sing it in the car on the way to a practice or lesson or at bedtime.
- Express your opinions. Sharing values and beliefs lets your children know what and how you think.
- Save their schoolwork in a box with each child’s name on it, “Mike — 2nd Grade,” to demonstrate your interest. It will encourage them to work harder.
- Ask your children on a regular basis what was the best and worst part of their day or week.
- Act silly. For example, chase your child through the house or pretend to be an airplane and soar down on him. Be ridiculous!
- Never be too busy to watch your children’s homemade magic or puppet shows and plays. Get into it; clap loudly!
- Teach your child a card trick.
- Grow a plant together. You might stick toothpicks in a sweet potato and put it in a glass of water near a kitchen window. Check it every few days together.
- If you’re getting home late, call in your good night kiss and promise an in-person one as soon as you arrive.
- Spend five minutes before dinner tossing a baseball or kicking a soccer ball around. It’s a great way to relax and start a conversation.
- Take your child for an unexpected treat, like and ice cream or a doughnut, after visiting the doctor.
- Invite the children to lick the beaters or bowl whenever you bake.
- Start a pillow fight.
- Involve your children when making plans for the upcoming weekend.
For more ideas that go a long way toward building lasting family connections , check out Susan Newman’s Little Things Long Remembered at: www.susannewmanphd.com