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Family Time Tips

 


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Family time is valuable time when parents can take time out to observe their children, follow their children, hug and kiss them, encourage, guide, and laugh. Family time is when children feel comfortable opening up to their parents. This is a time when the mood is relaxed and children feel supported, valued and loved. Family Time is a special opportunity for families to relax and play together.

While the importance of family time is clear, it isn't always easy to find the time needed to enjoy family time. Nowadays, both parents work long hours and children are spending time in many places besides their home, such as school, sports activities, music lessons, dance classes and other settings in the community. There is no doubt that activities can enrich children's lives and expose them to more possibilities for future success, but too many activities can create stress and exhaustion for children, spreading them too thin. Family time is fun and rewarding and even in a busy modern family a little special time goes a long way.

Research has discovered that one of the most effective strategies parents, grandparents, and other primary care-givers have for raising healthy, well-adjusted kids is to frequently eat meals together as a family. Parents can use this time to talk to their children. If an evening meal is impossible to schedule, families can find a different meal to gather, a fun idea is to set the table later in the evening when everyone is home, and have dessert together.

Be a good listener. By staying connected with their children and teenagers, parents can be a source of support, create a climate for discussing tough issues and serve as a role model for responsible and empathic behavior. Parents can initiate or extend family time by encouraging conversations and discussions about shared experiences. Encourage the kids to talk about their day and parents too can share something interesting about their day.

Let your kids help in the kitchen. Parents might panic at the mere thought of having children in the kitchen, but even toddlers can help with mealtime preparation. Have them help with the stirring, sprinkling, etc. as long as it is safe (no handling of sharp objects please!). This is a great opportunity to bond with your kids and have a little extra help at the same time. Of course, with toddlers, it might not be help at all, with the mess you have to clean up afterwards, but hey, it'll be fun!

Playing together as a family provides opportunities for parents and children to do something enjoyable and fun with each other. Coloring, board games, guessing games, acting, arm wrestling, playing with dolls or cars, and reading are all fun things to do together.

Do crafts together. Keep a box of scrap paper, stickers, stamps, crayons and scissors for art activities. Not only is this a lot of fun, it also encourages creativity. It is also a good way to create sentimental gifts, card, ornaments, knick knacks, etc. to be cherished for a long time.

Storytelling is a great way to spend time with kids. Share family stories, including tales from your childhood. For added fun, challenge the kids to create their own silly stories.

Some outdoor activities that can be shared as a family include: bicycling, hiking, canoeing, softball football, or soccer. Plan a picnic at a park, a beach, or even the backyard.

Other fun activity ideas include: bird-watching, gardening, going to the local farmer's market, attending local free outdoor shows and festivals, visiting museums or arranging tours of local businesses such as candy factories, printing plants, silversmiths, and so on.

Have family meetings to discuss issues that are important to you. Give everyone a chance to speak and listen to what they have to say. Schedule these regular family meetings once a week or once a month so that everyone can think about the things they want to discuss or any ideas they might have.

Mark the activities on a family calendar. This way, your family can plan around these days and look forward to the activities.

There are many activities that can be fun for the whole family. You just have to try and realize how important family time is and make it happen!

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