We are so busy dashing from here to there that sometimes we just seem to not have enough time to enjoy our families. Yes, I did say enjoy our families. Families are the foundation of society. Our families should always be a top priority. Many times 24 hours is just not enough time to fit in all of our activities. Meetings here, soccer practice there, jobs, errands, cookies for your 4th grader’s school party. You get the idea. It’s never ending right?
So how do get in fun family time? There are ways; many that take little preparation. Put family time on your planner if that’s the only way to get everyone in the same place at the same time. The dishes may have to sit in the sink a little longer, the towels may not get folded, or combine your errands into one round trip on one day to save time. Set one evening a week for family time. No phones, no texts, no interruptions.
You’ve got the time. Now what to do with your family? How about a tried and true recipe for fun and laughter? Have dinner together as a family. Archaic, right? Dinner used to be a nightly ritual. Eating out was for special occasions. Sad to report that over the last 3 decades family dinners have been on the decline. Thirty-three percent of families eat dinner together regularly. Sad, isn’t it? Research has shown that families who have dinner together have a higher level of affection for each other, less stress; the children do better in school, and get into less trouble. Not a bad deal.
Up through high school we had dinner nightly together as a family. I was blessed to have a stay-at-home mother. She was a tremendous cook. (Except for nasty split pea soup and homemade macaroni and cheese. Gag me. Sorry, Mom. You know how I felt about those two items.) She’s 92 now and her children are scattered everywhere so no cooking for a brood. Dad would make sure he was home for dinner. He worked full-time and had a couple of part-time jobs. Even the teenagers had to be at dinner.
We had spirited conversation, laughs, and some arguments. Topics of conversation could be anything. Our parents were really interested in how our day went. It was nice to be cared about. Don’t save family dinners just for holidays. Cooking the meal together is a great family activity. Studies also show that children are more likely to eat healthy when they help with meal preparation.
When my children were stilling living at home we did have family dinners. I wanted to hear about their day. We’d tell jokes, laugh, talk about various subjects, and enjoy some good food. (I am not the cook my mom was.) I also felt being together at the table was a good time to learn. My children probably weren’t thrilled by the idea, but I gave them separate vocabulary words from what they had at school. They had to find the definition, make a sentence with the word, and then share it over dinner. I loved it.
Host a mini Olympics or a talent show, or even put on a play. I had five brothers and an older sister. Every summer we would put our heads together and plan a talent show to take place in our back yard. Working on it was top secret. No adults allowed. We had simple costumes. Many, many pounds ago I was taking ballet and tap lessons. Most of my acts were of the dancing type. One brother had gotten a magic kit and so he’d plan a magic demonstration. (He was terrible by the way. So bad it was funny.) My other siblings had acts, but frankly I can’t remember what they were. We’d even get the children our age that lived on our block involved. Every one of us wanted a piece of the action. We make tickets and sell them to our parents for a dime. We set up chairs out by the back door for our audience and we performed on the grass. Those who were waiting for their turns to do their stuff would sit on the swings and watch – and laugh. Those were some of the best times of my life.
Read as a family. Novel idea, right? (Pun intended.) As children our parents did not read much to us but my mother would ask us to read to her. In my own family I read books to my little ones and then would help them learn how to read. We read the scriptures every night and then they could pick a book we would read together. Their favorites were the Bernstein Bears and the animal characters created by Richard Scarry. I loved his books, too. His characters ran the city, held jobs, went to market, and so forth. One of the characters was a female fox who rode a police motorcycle and was named Officer Flossie. I still call police officers “Officer Flossy.” Not to their faces, of course. One child was on one side of me and one on the other. The perfect fit. Even as teenagers we could read together, at least until my son got to high school and was too cool to read with his mom and sister.
Reading as a family doesn’t have to stop when the children get older. Have a family book club where you all read the same book or article. Upon completion of the reading have a discussion. Let everyone share.
Do you think reading together still goes on at Mama Vicky’s house even though my children are adults? (Yes, sometimes they do come home to roost after being on their own for a while.) Daphne and I have read books together for some time. Although, truthfully, she’ll pick a book and get bored with it and I get to finish it on my own while we start another one. (I seem to recall she would get bored most often with my book choices. Currently we are reading a book together and comparing notes. She hasn’t given it up as boring yet. Harumphhh!) We plan to blog together about it in the book nook section. Give us a few days to finish it, please.
Have some family fun! Blog You Later!