Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Time is tight and money is tighter, but you can still make sure your kids have a great summer. If you want to give your kids some quality family time, maybe it is time to revamp and reorganize a couple of days or evenings a week to include this much needed family break.
If you rush out of your office, making hurried stops along the way to do errands, pick up your children and perhaps dinner, it is hard to have a special moment with them at the end of the day. It can be worse if you have to pick them up, only to then drop them off at baseball or cheerleader practice.
What's a parent to do? Where are those "Kodak Moments"? Well, it is up to you to make them. Just remember that time out does not have to mean that your kid has been naughty. It can mean that it is time for fun.
Devote some time to a sit down dinner. Yes--even if you are eating take-out chicken. Forget those television scenes of the family eating take-out food from the little cartons it was delivered in. Remove the food from the containers and put it bowls and platters and set the table. It will take the same amount of time to eat dinner, whether sitting at the dinner table or in front of television.
How can you carve out quality time for your kids?. The time is there, you just have to find it. If you have youngsters, remember that special time does not necessarily mean a trip to Disneyland. It may be that 15 or 20 minutes of coveted mommy or daddy time is what they crave. Reading or discussing a book together, playing a board game or an interactive video game can do wonders in creating warm feelings and good memories.
Trips to the mall. Perhaps your teenager would enjoy a ride-a-long trip to the mall with you--you won't know if you don't ask. While at the mall, stop for a burger or ice cream and take time to enjoy one anotherís company; you may learn something new about your kid. If your teen mentions a hobby or something he or she enjoys, suggest stopping by the book or video store to see if you can find something on that subject.
Make a 'good times' list on paper or in your head. Make a list of three or four easy, relatively quick activities that your children enjoy the most at home. Think videos, books, games, physical activities, cooking, etc. Make sure these are things they can do with you, not just something they do on their own. The point is to set aside quality bonding time between parent and child. Then, designate at least once a week for those specific activities.
For example, Friday could be "Movie Night." Each week, a different child gets to pick the parent-approved video and everyone enjoys it together. What about a "Game Night", instead of TV time, each week a different child picks a board game and everyone sits down to play a round or two.
Entice your kids with popcorn one evening. Buy old fashioned popcorn that comes in a jar and pop it in a big pot, you are likely to get an audience without calling anyone.
So, go on. Have a kids' time out. Make a night of it.
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