How Family Time Is So Precious

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Image Credit: SheKnows.com

Image Credit: SheKnows.com

As we ease into September and our kids head back to school, you may start to feel like you are running at a break neck pace.  Days are filled with commitments, schedules, driving, juggling, cooking, cleaning and the list goes on.  You feel tired.  Your family members are tired.  And you wake up in the morning just to start it all over again.  So what can we do to maintain our family relationships and keep the household functioning like a well-oiled machine?  Here are a few activities that can help you stay connected to your loved ones:

  • Family Pizza night. No, that doesn’t mean doing some finger cooking and ordering out for pizza, make it fun (and healthy) and have everyone gather around and make pizzas together. Making and eating food as a family is a great bonding experience and creates lasting memories, not to mention a great teachable moment for passing on the importance of healthy food choice.
  • Make cleaning fun! No one, adults and children alike, really like cleaning, so what better than to make it a game that all can take part.  Some fun suggestions are timed races, dance parties while picking up toys, or neat incentives such as movie night or screen time to get those boring chores done and ticked off the to do list. You’ll get work done while sharing some laughs as well as teaching children that working as a team accomplishes a common goal faster.
  • Family game night. There is nothing better than a night filled with Monopoly or a competitive game of chutes and ladders with the family so pull out those board games and turn off the screens.  Valuable face time allows everyone to wind down and reconnect after a busy week.
  • Rent a movie. With so many choices now for finding the perfect movie to share there isn’t any reason not to curl up on the sofa with the family and a big bowl of popcorn.  Sometimes sharing one another’s company can be just that simple, so sit back, relax, and enjoy!
  • Laugh. Laughing and telling jokes is a fun and enjoyable way to share each other’s company, so break out the joke books and get going!

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Food For Thought

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Image Credit: YouTube (The Best First Date)

Image Credit: YouTube (The Best First Date)

The minutes slide into hours, the hours spill into days, and before we know it, weeks have gone by. We get so busy in the day to day and then once the storm has passed, we turn to look at our children and realize their faces have changed, they’ve grown taller, or they have a wiggly tooth. We stand, gazing at them, wondering where the time has gone and wish that life would slow down so that we wouldn’t miss so much.  We’re all guilty of this.  We get caught up in working, taking the kids to school or lessons or making sure the house is clean on top making some time to sleep. Coming up for air from all the chaos isn’t always easy, but we need to.  We need to make the time to show our children that we love them and to teach them in order for relationships to thrive, we need to take the time.  Well, one father has realized just this and decided to do something about it.

In this lovely video, a father takes his little girl out on a date. He picks her up at the front door and whisks her off to dinner in the backyard, complete with roses, a waiter and dinnertime conversation on the patio followed by some after dinner play.  The most interesting part about this video, other than the impossible cuteness of it all, is the fact that without much effort, this father is setting a standard for his young daughter and the relationships in her life simply by taking the time to show her that she is very much worth his time. He’s setting the standard so that she knows that respect and love are what nurture healthy relationships. And it’s just as simple as a date in the backyard.

What children need is face time.  No, I don’t mean call them up on your smartphone and have a conversation, I mean having a face to face conversation with them.  I mean taking the time to put down the devices and communicate, to ask them how their day has gone, and to take an interest in their lives. We are so inundated with technology that more often than not, when we do find some down time, many find it easier to plug into a screen rather than their own children, just to find a reprieve from the everyday. But what if we took the time to plug into our children instead?

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The Importance of Pursuing Goals

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Image via believerspath.com

Image via believerspath.com

As the years go by, we get caught up in the grind of going to work, paying bills, and generally just trying to get by. However, we have ensure that our lives have purpose so that we feel fulfilled. We have to keep pursuing our goals and creating new ones after each achievement. These are good habits that keep our minds fresh and strong so that we don’t settle into complacency.

If you’ve been at the same job for many years, you should assess whether your duties have changed much or whether you’ve been willing to learn new systems and strategies. If not, make it your goal to master a new method that will make you more efficient and happy at work.

If having just the one job isn’t enough, considering adding a new goal to your life of starting your own business, especially one that you can run from home. It’s likely that you’ve got more spare time than you realize, and you can use that time to replenish your goals and motivate your mind.

For obvious reasons, goals are important. The more motivated and driven you are, the more people are attracted to you and the more you bring into your own life. Still, it’s worth saying that pursuing goals is important because it’s a personal challenge that will help you see how capable you are of continuing with your own success and tearing down any boundaries that you believe existed and were keeping you from doing new things.

How big should your goals be? You can start with something as easy as redecorating your living room, switching to wood flooring, or other home renovations. Your goals can be to join more activities that will encourage you to be social so you can make new friends.

Just remember, keep your goals achievable at first so that you aren’t immediately discouraged. Then, keep going forward and make them a little more challenging to keep you excited about the pursuit.

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Getting Out and Getting Involved

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image via parenting.com

image via parenting.com

What is your current level of involvement with causes or activities? If you spend too much time busy with work or staying in, you can miss out on a lot of great stuff happening around town.

If you live close to a big city, you can find plenty of things to do on weekends or even during the week if you have time after work. You can find anything from open mic nights where comedians practice their sets and you can watch for free, or other performances at museums. You can catch exhibits that are in town and take your kids to see something they wouldn’t have otherwise had a chance to see.

There might be fundraising events that simply need people to be in attendance. If it’s a cause that matters to you, try to buy a ticket to the event or make a small donation. You could also offer to volunteer for event setup, as these events often rely on people’s time and energy to help make them happen.

Getting out of the house at least once a week will be a pretty healthy activity for you and your loved ones. It gives you a chance to cut away from the internet and TV so you can talk and reconnect and find out about things that you don’t get to catch during busy work weeks. Get them involved with activities around town that will allow you to spend time with neighbors or visiting local businesses.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s good for you to get back in touch with the causes that matter to you by participating with their related activities as well.

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How To Help Your Kids With Homework This Fall

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Image via school.familyeducation.com

Image via school.familyeducation.com

Summer break is over and if you’ve got kids or younger siblings, they’re back in school and re-establishing the routine of doing homework for a little while after they’ve come home every day.

What can you do to help your kids with their homework? Sometimes it’s beyond what you remember academically, because even if you don’t know how to answer some of their math questions, you can learn how to help them at any step. Here are a few ideas that might help:

  • Establish an after school routine for getting homework done. Let your kids come home and get comfortable for a few minutes. However, perhaps don’t let them access fun toys like video games or tablets until after they’ve finished their homework. And if they must make use of technology, it should only be for research before they turn to games.
  • Provide a time for them to get a healthy after school snack before dinner. They’ve had their lunch some time between 11:30am and 12pm, so by the time they get home at two or three, they’re probably hungry again, but not quite ready for a meal as big as dinner. Serve up some apple slices, cheese, crackers, and water or milk.
  • Have them show you what homework they were assigned. Ask if they also have to finish any classwork that they didn’t complete in class. It’s important to show you want to be aware of their assignments so they can’t get away with the old “I didn’t get any homework” excuse. Most of the time, teachers will give homework unless otherwise indicated.
  • For the most part, schools are giving students free student planners. Teachers like to use these to have students write down their homework assignments for each subject or they write down the agenda for the day so that there’s always a list of what was read or covered in class. Ask to look at this and communicate with the teacher about using it as a “messaging system” so you’re both keeping up with the student’s organizational skills.
  • If your child is covering material that is familiar to you, keep in mind that it is being taught very differently than what you remember. Your child will have a very different way of arriving at an answer than you do. Let them show you have it is that they are arriving at math answers. As they teach it to you, they are given the chance to demonstrate understanding.

Whether you know the material or not, your presence and support is going to help your child with his or her homework habits. Later, if YOU need a little help understanding things, you can reach out to the teacher and learn more about what you can to do help with specific assignments or subjects. Your involvement is very important in creating a positive and successful school year.

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