Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making Time for the Important Things

If your family is anything like mine, everyone is constantly going in different directions, whether it be for work, sports, after school activities, whatever. Do you ever feel like you and your partner are more like roommates than in a relationship with one another? Do you ever feel like you have no idea what your child is talking about? In today's go-go-go world we can easily get caught up in the day-to-day activities of life, and before we notice, there has been strain or distance in our relationships. Just like our friendships and business relationships, our family relationships need attention and nurturing too.

Here are some tips to help improve family communication and strengthen your family relationships.

1. Set up specific days/times to spend with one another. Adults establish a date night where the two of you can have some quality time to yourselves (and date night does not have to involve going out and spending a ton of money, it can be cooking at home together). Families, set-up a weekly family game night, or weekly outing.

2. Unplug. This is becoming a re-occurring theme in my blogs, but it is very important. Between our TVs, computers/Internet/Facebook, phones, and video games how often are none of those items in use in your home? If you are like me, rarely. I have seen two children sitting in the same room texting each other rather than talking to one another. Set aside time for the family to put down their electronics and enjoy that time together (this includes no answering the phone if it rings - parents included).

3. One good time to unplug is during meals. Use that time together to talk with your children/partner, find out about their day, see what new things are going on in their lives, and what upcoming events are coming.

4. Create rituals with one another. Parents do you have a bed time routine for your children? What role do you play in that routine? Do you talk 10-15 minutes and read to them? Do you sing them a lullaby? What about on special occasions, what takes place? I have a friend whose family, anytime there was a special event, that person got to eat dinner off of a special designated celebration plate. That is something that friend cherishes to this day.

5. Last but definitely not least, listen, talk with them, and be there. Your child may run on about this girl said this, or that boy did that, and while it may not be important to you, it is to your child, listen, be interested. The something for adults, while what happens at your partner's office may sound insignificant to you, it might be really important to them, show them that what is important to them, is important to you too. Be approachable for your partner or children to be able to talk to you when they need you, remember, actions speak louder than words.

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