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Archive for July, 2010

Fun Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Kids

July 16th, 2010 - Category: Family Time

Time with Kids VS. Work

I think, for the most part, parents genuinely want to be able to have more time to spend with their kids.  Work schedules, school, housework, and travel (essentially our day to day routines) all tend to creep their way further and further into our lives until eventually we can end up suffocating ourselves with “to dos” and appointments. We don’t want these things to take over our lives, but somehow it ends up sometimes that we let the small things in life outweigh what is most important.

Family Comes First

If you’re wondering, the idea for this post came from the movie “Click It” with Adam Sandler. My wife and I just finished watching it and I couldn’t help but wonder if I might be letting my day to day routine and work rob some of the quality time in my life that I could be dedicating to those I love most, my family. There is a fine line that needs to be walked but no matter the circumstances, as Michael states in the end, “family is always first.”

I’ve Made the Time, Now What?

This in mind, I’ve decided to share some ideas on ways to spend quality time with your kids. When we do take that vacation, put away the chores for a night with the family, or ditch the 5th “can’t miss” meeting to pick up the kids early from school, it’s nice to have some good ideas up our sleeves to make sure that the time we spend with our kids and family is meaningful, fun, and memory creating.

This is simply going to be a list of brainstormed ideas. I debated breaking them down into categories but decided that it would be easier if you could just pick and choose which ones would work best for your family and your own kid’s ages since each family is different.

Ideas for Spending Time with Children

  • finger painting
  • face painting
  • build a lego city
  • read books
  • pitch a tent in the backyard
  • build a fort
  • Draw and color pictures of your favorite places
  • play marketplace (bank)
  • dress-up
  • put on a talent show
  • karaoke
  • build ginger bread houses
  • puzzle
  • fishing trip
  • play catch
  • go for a “walk n talk”
  • teach them how to cook their favorite meal
  • go to the park for a picnic
  • make cookies
  • visit grandparents

This list could be endless and I hope everyone can share some of their own ideas on ways to spend quality time with your kids. What do you do on your days off with the family? What brings a smile to your son or daughters face? We’d love to hear from you.

Advice For Us “Always In A Hurry” People

July 9th, 2010 - Category: General Parenting

No matter how light my load is for the day I feel like I’m always in a hurry to “get it done.” At this point, many of you are probably singing the popular country song by Alabama. If not, you most definitely will be after I throw out some of the lyrics. The song’s chorus says:

“I’m in a hurry to get things done.
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun.
All I really gotta do is live and die,
but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”

I think the message here might have a familiar ring to many of us. I know it sparks a recognizable cord in my mind and I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Why do we always feel like we’re in a rush? Just the other day I caught myself over-analyzing my average driving speed because I knew for certain that my innate ability to catch red lights was a direct result of my average rate of speed (OCD I know)! I tried to determine whether I should slow down or speed up another 3-4 miles per hour.

Being in a hurry is a trait of many people in today’s world and whether we realize it or not, it is a huge problem. Rushing through the dishes, laundry, shopping, getting the kids ready for school, and even our projects at work decreases not only the quality of our actions but our overall enjoyment for the things we do each day.

So what is to be done? How can we relieve ourselves of the feeling of being in a hurry and still be able to get everything done in a day that we need to? Over the past little while I’ve been trying to implement some ideas that I’ve had about it and they seem to be working for the most part so I will share some of them here. Keep in mind that many of these are not simply my own concoctions, but rather are an accumulation of ideas from myself and suggestions from friends.

Focus On Importance Not “Speed”

I think that a lot of times we are simply trying to get things done as fast as we can so that we can move on to the next task. When we do this, we often miss the whole point of why we’re doing something and our quality decreases as well as our fulfillment in completing it.

When mowing the lawn, put your mind into mowing the lawn and doing a good job. When you get up in the morning and need to put on makeup, take a few deep breathes and go through it with care and precision. This way you work efficiently taking as little time as possible but still are doing a good job because your mind is not flying away thinking about the next 4 things that need to get done. This enables us to enjoy the work we are currently engaged in. Once we’re finished, then move to the next task (making breakfast, waking up the kids, morning reading…etc) and enjoy the process of accomplishing it.

Set Aside Daily Relaxation Time

Most people who feel like they are always in a hurry, myself included, rarely set apart a time in each day to simply do “nothing.” Wait a minute, did he just say that doing “nothing” will help me be in less of a hurry? Yes, I did! :) It doesn’t have to be long. Five to 10 minutes will even suffice. This is time where you practice disconnecting and let your mind rest. Ponder on your feelings and let your muscles and limbs be still. This does wonders to making us feel less stressed.

It’s OK If Something Doesn’t Get Done!

I think a lot of times I get down on myself thinking about all the things that I could/should have done that day rather than focusing on what WAS accomplished. It’s really easy to fall into this trap and it’s an important habit to break. It’s one of the leading reasons why we insist on being in a hurry because we want to avoid those feelings at the end of the day.

Coming to a realization that there is just no way to get everything done that we need to is vital. When we start off and end the day with that mindset, then it’s easier to focus on all the good things that happened that day and all that we were able to accomplish. We go to bed content and wake up refreshed and ready to start anew.

Don’t Over Commit And Try Cutting Back Appointments

This is the final suggestion that I’ve been working on. Too many appointments really drains our time in a day especially if the appointments take place in different locations. Try to schedule appointments around the same location and keep them to a minimum. Don’t just have a meeting to HAVE a meeting. Only schedule them when they are absolutely necessary. If you can have a conference call or video chat from home instead then make it work. This eliminates unnecessary travel time and will ultimately allow for more time to accomplish other more important tasks.

I hope you find some benefit to these suggestions. I know life can be hectic and rushed at times but I really feel like we can make a difference and try to enjoy the daily events more when we truly try to focus on changing our mindset and implementing a few easy ideas like  these.