Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘Quality Time’

16Aug

You know that a proper balance between sodium and chlorine creates  salt,  striking a balancebut what if there was a combination of chemicals that created life balance? Now, that would make things so much easier! Unfortunately for the busy parents out there, this just doesn’t exist. You want to be excellent employee, a rock star (and cool) mom and dad, and a thoughtful partner; however, the best way to not get overwhelmed and achieve as close to life balance is to be good to yourself first. Whether that means you need a Sunday golf game with the guys or a spa day with the girls, do whatever makes you feel good about yourself, and will recharge you to tackle your work or enjoy your family.

Here are some additional tips to balancing life – as best you can:

Establish a support network. Surround yourself with people who encourage you or take your kids when you need a break. People in your network can include family, friends, neighbours, even colleagues.
Get organized! Get a calendar or a day planner, and write down all appointments, meetings, dates, and other commitments. This way you will be able to stay on top of everything. Prioritize and delegate.
Build downtime in your schedule. Whether your downtime includes time for yourself or quality time with your children, it is important to make downtime a priority, too.
Exercise. Yes, it seems counter-intuitive because who needs yet another activity in their schedule? However, regular exercise actually gives you a boost in energy and an increase in concentration.

Ultimately, there is no sure fire way to strike that balance in life. Each person has a different definition of what that balance is. Find what works for you and your family, and stick to it.

17Jul

Attention! Sound off: paying attention to your child is important! The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child by Ericka Lutz

In her book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Well-Behaved Child, Erica Lutz pens 12 different self-discipline strategies, and the first one is an encouragement to pay attention to your child (via Family Education). This seems like obvious parenting, but its importance is often underscored in our busy world.

Parenting is the art of paying attention; you can learn nearly everything about your child – and parenting in general –by simply paying attention to him or her. Parents are constantly asked to multitask, yet children require close, frequent attention – not every moment of the day, but often. And, as your child grows, the amount of vis-à-vis time together decreases, but that’s when quality time is king.

This isn’t easy to do, however. Paying attention means more than being in the same room together – it’s more than being physically present. It must be about knowing how to communicate with your child. You have to learn how they talk and listen, and how you should respond. Here are some quick tips to maximize your quality time with your child, while maintaining your busy life (which is possible!):

• Use your multitasking skills. If you have to go to the post office anyway, stop by the park on your way home, and spend some time playing.
• Get organized. Your family should be your top priority, so focus on cultivating relationships with your children, rather than trying to get your “to-do” list done.
• Set up a family huddle, once per week “family meeting”.

11Jul

These days, families don’t seem to have enough time to spend with each other. Me in a TreeThere are a growing number of families who have a dual income; however, that results in less time parents get to spend with their children. Families have to be innovative in creating quality time. While there are many ways to accomplish this, a fun and creative way to carve out time is to host a fundraiser.

There are countless fundraisers that you can try as a family, here a few ideas to get you started:

Amazing feats: hold a competition with your family to determine who has the craziest trick, like who can roll their tongue into a clover leaf or who is the most flexible.
Host an art gallery: if you have some artists in the family, you can create arts and crafts together. Donate the proceeds of any sales to an organization or cause of your choice.
Have a garage sale:  send some time as a family going through your stuff, and sell what you don’t need or want anymore. Proceeds from the garage sale can either go towards a night out with the family or to an organization or cause of your choice.

It doesn’t matter what the fundraiser is, as long as you are spending time together as a family.

A good place to start spending more time together is initiating a Family Huddle, a time set aside weekly to discuss life as a family.

5Jul

Computers, television, video games, cell phones… the list of technology we have in our families is endless. old-fashioned family funWhile these technologies can have a positive effect on families, a common consequence is that each member of the family is in a different room of the house on their own respective technology, not spending any time with each other.

The adage goes like this: “a family that plays together stays together”. This is incredibly true, but it doesn’t take much work to steal a few hours a week of good quality time with the family.

If it’s sunny and warm, grab some chalk and draw silly picture on the sidewalk, or play an old-school game of hopscotch. If it’s raining or (dare I say it!) snowing outside, play inside. Grab as many pillows and blankets as you can find in the house and build a fort. Or, pick a musical, make some popcorn, and sing along. Fire up the oven, whip up some batter, and bake the day away.

These are simple suggestions; however, find something that you’re family enjoys whether that is holding a dance party in your kitchen or lazing out with a movie. The take-away here is to put aside the technology or any other distractions, and spend time with those people whom you love the most. Those few hours you take out of your week to spend with your children will reap benefits in the future.

Check out www.meinatree.com an online, interactive resource that gives parents and kids tools, activities and games to build a stronger family.

4Jul

Do the gifts you give to your children replace quality time with them? Gift of TImeWhile this may seem tough, it is a harsh reality of our culture. For instance, Christmas usually starts at 6am with excited children eager to open their scads of presents. But, what happens after all the presents are open? Everybody becomes preoccupied with their new gifts. What’s quite often left behind is the time that you spend with your family.

Parents often spoil their children with gifts, rather than quality time. This can lead to adverse effects as your family ages. Here are some things you can do to keep from spoiling your children.

Be a good role model. While you may not be the only influence in your child’s life, you are the best one. Model the importance of hard work and valuing what you have.
Determine what it means to take care of your child. You don’t need physical goods to show that you care, but rather giving time to your child will be more effective in creating a special, long-term bond.
• With your child, define the difference between needs, wants, and desires.
Say no. Giving into your child every moment will only foster the desire to want more material things or more attention.
Have your child set goals. Let them determine the things they would like, and outline some steps that your child can take to achieve those goals.

A child spoiled with the gift of quality time is never spoiled. Food for thought.

Check out www.meinatree.com, an online, interactive resource that gives parents and kids tools, activities and games to build a stronger family.

23Dec

I’m grateful for you!

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season there are countless precious moments;  quality time with family, fun family traditions, gift giving and also a time when people seem to be nicer and kinder to one another. It is also a perfect time to teach our children the art of gratitude.

Here are three easy ways to go about it:

3Feb

Housework, how do we conquer the never ending list of chores and still have the time and energy for our families?

My solution, make chores a team effort.

Working as a team might means everyone pitching in together, or it might also mean each person doing individual jobs, which together, get the whole job done. It does not matter which one you’re doing as long as the children are aware this is a team effort.

In my home we have a rule that at the end of each meal, no one leaves the kitchen until the kitchen is clean. The children are used to this and they pitch in together. One loads the dishwasher; the other puts away the ketchup and wipes the table, while my husband and I tackle the pots and leftovers. Now the family realizes the faster we work together, the sooner the job is done.

27Jan

How do we find the time?

In the midst of soccer games, dance practice and PTA meetings, who has time for a relaxing sit- down meal? There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a window of opportunity to get everyone around the table. I believe this is pretty typical in most Canadian household including my own. The slow- paced, family dinner of my childhood is a fond and distant memory, and my family dinner today looks more like a chaotic pit stop, where eating a meal is simply a way of refueling before the evening schedule begins. But knowing that family dinners are still one of the best ways for families to stay connected, how do we make it happen without adding further stress into our lives?

18Jan

Time is the most precious gift a parent can give to a child. Parents that are present and involved in the lives of their child enrich their lives emotionally and physically. Many parents look for the best parenting solution to help their children grow into responsible, mature adults. Yet, the most important component is as simple as spending quality time and committing to “being there” for them. This is a critical success factor in the parent-child relationship. The quality of this relationship is directly related to the amount of time invested in it.  Many children act-up or misbehave when they feel as though their parents are not giving them enough attention. Children who receive quality time are less likely to act-out and are far more likely to lead a happy and balanced life.