By Jennifer Chung, Kinsights.com
Home should be a haven for families to retreat to and recharge their batteries. However, as kids grow older and schedules become more challenging, home can be a place filled with chaos and frustration. Try incorporating some of these tips into your family routine to create a tranquil home environment for you and your family to gather and create lasting bonds.
Take “mom” time. We hear it all the time, but following through with it is a different story. For a mom to run the household and constantly cater to everyone’s needs, she needs to take the time to recharge her battery. This could be as simple as taking a few minutes each day alone to read a book or hit the gym. Moms need to also make time to spend time with friends and engage in outside interests. As the saying goes, happy wife, happy life!
Set up a family command center. Mornings and homework time can be a holy nightmare for parents. However, with a little time and attention, you can combat the nightmare and help prevent morning meltdowns. Create an area in your home, preferably near the door or kitchen (the hub of the home) that holds a hook and/or cubbie for your kids’ backpacks, coat, homework, etc. Also, hang a bulletin board and calendar nearby that display important school notes, appointment dates, homework assignments, and more. Once there’s a place for everything, the morning rush and homework time should go much smoother.
Dine as a family at least once a week. Family schedules tend to be hectic with work, sports, volunteering, and more, so it’s not always feasible to have dinner together every night. Make it a point to eat together as a family at least once a week. Plan simple meals like a taco bar, chili or a beef stew. The point is not to spend hours in the kitchen preparing the meal, but rather to spend that precious time dining together. If dinner just doesn’t work with everyone’s schedules, you can also bake and decorate cookies together on the weekend or have everyone make their own ice cream sundae after the entire family returns home from their daily activities. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate event to create good conversation and family memories.
Take time each day to talk to your family. Days roll into weeks, weeks into months, and so forth. You always hear parents say that their kids’ childhood disappeared in a flash. Don’t forget to take a few minutes each day to actually talk to your husband and each child. Ask them how their day was and ask what’s new with their friends. Just ask those questions and let them know you care. Keep those lines of communication open.
Have a dedicated family night. Unplug from technology and focus on building family bonds. This night should be mandatory for everyone, so scheduling activities and work around this time together is essential, especially as kids grow into teens and have their own lives. The whole family can plan a fun game night, take a cooking class, or try rock climbing or another team activity that builds trust. Be sure to plan activities that foster communication and working together to achieve a common goal.
Kids grow up too fast, and if you don’t slow down and make an intentional plan, you’ll miss out on creating family memories. Life can fill up quickly with running from sporting events to doctor’s appointments and, before you know it, families drift apart. It’s important to create a home atmosphere that is peaceful and encourages communication and spending time together.
About Jennifer Chung & Kinsights:
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at www.kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).