During this season of Shelter In Place (SIP) many families are stuck at home trying to figure out what to do. With parents working from home and children learning from home the hours of a day seem to consume us and leave us exhausted at the end of the day.
This is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with spouses and children that will strengthen the values of your family by creating memories for a lifetime. One of the most important insights is “family is a privilege not a chore.” While there are chores that a family performs they can be enjoyable, teachable, and enduring positive moments. Many families already have daily routines which include many of the tips below. For families that do not have a clue of How, What, and Why I hope these tips are beneficial. So, close the home office, silence the mobile devices and get ready for some family time. You’ll have to be patient for sure, but all we have is time, right? Here we go.
Fun Times – One of the greatest joys of children is to experience fun times with their parents. They love when parent tickle them, pick them up and games with them. They enjoy bringing you imaginary snacks, cups of tea, and watching you dance. Joy is enhanced when the families, (including Mom and Dad) are participating in creating fun moments together. Make sure that you include “clean-up” as a priority of fun time. Yes, after the activity concludes, make it a fun time of picking up toys, putting the table back in order, and putting items back where they belong. The act of cleaning-up teaches fun doesn’t end when the games are over.
Eat Together – Stay balanced by eating healthy meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner during SIP. Take the time to teach proper hygiene to children as meals are prepared. Assign responsibilities for each family member so meals are a together-tasks not just a parenting tasks. Depending on the meal and the age of your family members dividing the responsibilities among your family members can be a new experience of discovery. Make sure you eat together as a family and not in front of the TV. The dinner table is a great place for conversation. Don’t forget to divide the clean-up responsibilities after each meal.
Quiet Times – Most families depend on external devices, tablets, laptops, TV, etc. for entertainment and that’s about the only time adult members experience a little peace. Incorporating Quiet Times in your daily routine is a terrific way to experience a little peace in each day without being digitally distracted. Quiet Times are when all family members abstain from talking and excessive movements. It’s a time for reading, journaling, and things of that sort. Start this activity with 10 or 15 minutes depending on the age of your little ones. Gradually increase the time increments as your family learns the discipline. This is a teaching time so be patient. A great benefit to this activity will be noticed when schools reopen and your children know how to be still in class.
Walk Together – So you gotta get out the house for some fresh air, but you can’t go far. Take the family for a walk through your neighborhood. Explain the purpose and make it fun. Doing things like counting the number of parked cars, or how many red rose bushes did you see, or how many neighbors did we greet are great ways to develop a sense of community. For smaller children, stopping to point out something on the walk is not only a time for teaching, but it’s a way to generate conversation at the dinner table. Don’t forget to practice proper hygiene and mask up.
Ride Together – After dinner when everything has been put away, consider taking the family on a short ride in your community. Stay in safe areas as you enjoy cruising through the streets. Make sure the music volume is low enough for conversation. If you have relatives near you, call them and tell them to come to the door as you and your family do a drive by greeting. You can even include some of your children’s friends or some of your co-workers. This activity can be done once or twice a week but it will bring joy to all.
Well that’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips. Remember, Family Time is a Privilege. Feel free to add strategies that you’ve practiced to enhance your family times during this crisis.