More Family Fun In 2022: Part One: It's About Time
More and better time with your family in 2022. There is no greater resolution than to commit to this goal. Here are some tips, hints, and best practices for making this a reality. If you can establish the habit of enjoying your family your quality of life will rise exponentially. It is worth learning how. Read and be encouraged!
Happy families that enjoy one another do a lot of things differently from other families. Often, the habits that well connected families have developed are so much a part of their lives that they continually build these bonds without much awareness. They just do what they do and the entire family benefits from the efforts made to draw close to one another.
These families, even if they can't articulate how or when, made a deliberate decision to live their life together in a way that promotes unity, cooperation, and solidarity in their home. This type of loving family absolutely never happens by accident. They are created because someone decided to step up and be the servant leader that moves the family towards a life that is stable and safe. This servant leader benefits as much as the rest of the family, so there is nothing to lose and so much to gain from beginning this process.
For some families, this is generational legacy and it is well worth preserving. Think of Toula Portokolas in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" parts one and two. While occasionally oppressive and overbearing this family blessed one another with great love in the form of presence and engagement. Talking, eating, working, they were in it together. If this is the type of family that raised you, be grateful and know that continuing this legacy is a gift to your children. I know there are some disadvantages and you may need to modify some of the details, but this kind of family produces emotionally healthy resilient children.
When I discuss the concept of having a deeply connected family with someone who did not grow up in a nurturant environment, the concern that I hear most often is the time element. Families have overloaded their schedules to an epic degree, and this cuts into experiencing intimate time with your children. Here are a couple of tips to help you to overcome this very real issue. You do have time to touch your child's heart. You just need to tap into it.
Think about micro bites of time. Not every high quality encounter requires large blocks of time. You don't have to play a game of Monopoly or Chess to connect with your children. How about Tic Tac Toe or Rock Paper Scissors? Here's another thought: is there a space in the kitchen or den where you can keep an ongoing family creation made of Legos? Set yourself up for short bursts of connection. No long lectures, no particular goal, just a bite of time sharing a simple activity. Just a moment can go a long way to build family bonds. Use your imagination.
Use the time that you have. When you are driving your child back and forth to various activities are you on your phone to clients or coworkers? If so, stop. There are better uses for that time. This is your ideal opportunity to tell jokes or ask questions about important issues. These car talks can be so rich in content and intimacy. Let your child make use of the close space to speak whatever they need to say. Use this time to listen without interruption offering encouraging comments to keep the communication going. Listen well. Speak with love.
Read aloud each day. It is impossible to overstate the number of advantages that children receive when they have a parent who reads aloud to them on a daily basis. This time of close contact and sharing offers far more to your child than just literacy although that is another advantage. When you hold your child close to share a book, no matter how old they are, you are sharing your personal space and your values. You are giving them the deep security of proximity. Your child needs to know that you are near. The sound of your voice, the feeling of being held close are all great sources of security for children. This is an amazing gift that only costs you fifteen minutes of your day. What a bargain. Your child will remember this for the rest of their lives.
Loving your child is about more than feelings. It is about making their needs for security and connection the priority of your life. Putting their need for your love ahead of your desire for privacy or time for your hobby. Privacy will be there when the children are grown. Your hobbies will wait for you to raise your little one. Your child only has this brief time with you. Don't waste the time, make excellent use of it. Use the short bites.
Instead of waiting until you have a full day or week and the money to go to some big box theme park, use what you have. Use the bits and bites of time you have and smile at your child with admiration. Openly show that you want to spend some time with them. Now is the time. Use it wisely.