Give thanks to family with your time

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the craze of the holidays just around the corner, finding family time can prove to be a bit difficult. Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home mom with a to-do list a mile long, making the most of the time you’re with family is important.

In this season of giving thanks, take the time to soak in these years. Try these tips to keep family at the forefront this upcoming season and throughout the year.

Minimize technology use

Facebook statuses can wait and a laundry list of email responses and text messages can be tabled for the moment. Choose a day to go tech- or media-free and make it a weekly tradition for your crew. Everyone will get used to the idea of going electronics-free and you just might see the revival of traditional conversation in your midst.

On the flip side, you might even consider learning more about the kids’ favorite game and figuring out how to use a game controller. After all, if you can’t beat them, you may as well join them! Use technology only to enhance, not replace, real life communication. Have older kids? Battle them in apps such as Words with Friends or break out the board games for some friendly family competition.

Take mental snapshots

Resist the urge to jump onto the Instagram train every time you see your kids do something adorable. Opt to take mental snapshots instead and really enjoy the moments for what they are rather than which filter makes them look best.

Consider having kids draw their favorite things to do as a family. You just might be surprised by what they choose! Not to mention that you’ll have a unique keepsake to commemorate an afternoon of family bonding.

Share the mundane everyday tasks

Whether you’re packing lunches or prepping for dinner, you do not need an abundance of free time to enjoy your crew. Little hands will love helping mix macaroni, stirring batches of cookies or folding napkins for the next day’s lunch. Kids love the opportunity to help with the cooking! We’ve included a fun fall recipe to get you started (see sidebar).

Even better, household chores such as laundry and dusting might also become a little more enjoyable if you have company with you. Understand that tasks may take a bit longer, but the memories made while doing so will last a lifetime.

Enjoy the love of reading together

Finding time to unwind can be difficult, but folding in relaxation with the typical day’s schedule can be the perfect opportunity to spend time together.

From the time our boys were born, bedtime stories have been a significant part of our daily routine.

Reading with your kids provides great areas for growth for them and increased familial connection for you. Looking for a few great book ideas? Share The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak of The Office fame or the classic Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Organize and prioritize the family schedule

As my boys get older, I am continuously learning the value of setting family priorities and controlling what goes on and off the schedule. Limit activities so that you can still have time for homework and family outings and consider scheduling a day each week for uninterrupted family time.

One of the biggest elements of this is learning the value of the word “No.”

Whether you opt out of an upcoming parent volunteer opportunity or you nix plans with a friend, learn to say no to things in your schedule when you know your family is craving together time. Control the schedule so that it does not control you.

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