Forgo guilt over NOT having family dinners together every single night of the week. Today’s kids are much too active for sit downs every night. The main thing is — for the best relationship possible with your child — you need to work at finding moments to connect.
You’re on the go and don’t have time, but just set up a cereal bar with the kids or search for overnight slow cooker recipes that require minimal effort on busy mornings.
Even if you find yourself reheating dinner when Dad gets home late, make an effort to get everyone together before bedtime. Serve everyone’s favorite ice cream, then gather around the table and take turns talking about the day.
Realize that driving kids all over the place to activities and appointments is a golden opportunity for conversation. Turn off the smartphones and jump start conversations. Remember to use the basics of good conversations.
You’ll be amazed at how loose and fun everyone can be while playing a game. Pull out a classic like Apples to Apples and start playing. The side conversations that occur will delight and stimulate everyone.
When held regularly, family pow wows have the power to resolve conflicts, build family unity and foster a sense of autonomy by engaging children of all ages in the family’s decision-making process. Plan for all members of the family to meet at least twice a month to share accomplishments, discuss upcoming plans and brainstorm solutions to problems or concerns within the family.
Take a break from the ordinary. A weekend getaway or a week at the beach, relaxing with your kids and making happy memories is a sort of salvation in between the busyness.
A Family Journal
When you keep a family journal, every person in the family gets space to write notes for other family members to read at their convenience. Purchase a basic notebook and encourage everyone to share and read at regular intervals. Work out how the journal rotates.
FaceTime and Skype are great for parents who travel or who don’t live in the same home as the kids. Embrace these tools for better connectivity.
Children love your undivided attention. Make a point to carve out a few moments of one-on-one time every day and consider date nights with kids.
Add at least one family dinner to your calendar and honor the commitment. You may never manage to eat together every evening, but DO aim to keep the spirit of family dinner alive — and reap its many benefits — by finding multiple ways to build strong and loving connections with your kids.
— Alyssa Chirco is a mom and freelance writer.