Family Time - Creating Family Traditions

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What’s important now? … The focus has shifted.

The economic events of the past few weeks really crystallized what’s important in life for many people. We’ve all re-ordered our priorities.

Many parents are frantic because there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to manage their work, home life, and kid’s activities. They’re frustrated when they see others who seem to do it all. The number one question parents ask us is, “How can I find more quality time to spend with my kids?”

It’s simple. Stay focused on what’s really important. Do you waste valuable time? Clear the clutter in your life. Do you buy lots of toys and gifts to compensate for your lack of family time? We are living in a consumption based society. We buy things to make us feel good. What your kids really want is you, not the latest, greatest toy.

Take a minute to put your busy schedule into perspective. Set aside some time to appreciate the things that really matter. It’s easy to loose sight of how much we really have. Instead of creating a wish list for the holidays, this year start a list of everything you are thankful for. Thanksgiving is a good time to begin.

Encourage an attitude of gratitude. Often we forget to tell people how much they are appreciated. Pick up the phone or send a hand written thank you note. Let special people know they are important in our lives.

The dinner table is a terrific place for family members to express thankfulness. Last year we suggested making a Gratitude Wreath. This is a great way for children to visualize the concept. Click here for directions.

Family traditions should be familiar, not monumental. Grab a few minutes of time whenever you can. This doesn’t require more time, just shifting the focus of the time we already have.

We all can slow down and see the world through a child’s eye. Stop and remember for a second what was important from your own childhood. Was it a special outing or vacation? Baking cookies with your grandmother? How did your family show love? Find something that you really enjoy doing. If you enjoy it, you are more likely to share the time with your children. They will learn so much about you. And you will learn so much about them that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Center celebrations on your values. There is importance in rituals. Celebrating holidays allows you to “connect” with your children and gives them a sense of belonging and the security that comes from family interaction.

Fulfillment is in the journey, more so than the destination. We’ve forgotten how simple things can affect us. This holiday season, share the gift of time spent together. It’s not about spending money. It’s not about the latest gadget or video game. It’s about creating celebrations and lasting traditions that come from simple gestures of the heart.

About the Authors: Rondi Hillstrom Davis and Janell Sewall Oakes are the co–authors of the award winning book Together: Creating Family Traditions. To check out their website that’s jam packed with family ideas, visit www.togetherparenting.com

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