As we approach a fresh, new year full of hope, aspirations, and expectations, you may find your “to do” list already filling up with activities. The calendar you received for the holiday already has many events scheduled. But what if I suggested erasing some of these “must do” tasks? For you and for your children. You balk at the thought? Don’t we have to do all these things, you ask? Do you really?
Does a five-night filled hectic schedule burn children out or help them to become well rounded? One mom struggled with this very thought. Her name is Amber Patricio. She came to the conclusion that activity doesn’t equal well rounded, well-loved children. Her family made some major modifications to their family life and schedule last year. She found this change contributed to a less harried life style.
Looking at her full schedule, she chose to make a change but not without some considerations. She shares, “Another step for me was just saying…no, first to the guilt in feeling that reducing our children’s activities would be detrimental to their well-being. But also just saying no to the fast paced world around us that seems to scream, ‘You (and your kids) must be busy with somewhere to go at all times.”
So Amber looked at her families activities from sports, scouts, dance, music and even additional church activities. Limiting her children to no more than one extracurricular activity in any given season and choosing to forgo Wednesday night services has freed up her family to enjoy each other and to savor life. Now they enjoy spontaneous visits from grandparents; the children play outside, and they read together more. Family conversations have increased, they enjoy family devotions and generally enjoy each other’s company.
Her advice to other mothers: “I would say to Mom’s, listen to your heart and trust your instincts. And equally important, observe your children. Their needs are much more simple than what our society would deem otherwise.”
Another mom, Cheri Copeland cut out dance and piano for their oldest daughter, though she still persues Girl Scout’s and basketball. Cheri lets her children decide activities for family night. It could be enjoying a frozen yogurt or a hot chocolate by the fire. Cheri says, “I recommend doing it! We as a society are so busy, and it’s just not necessary.”
Could reducing your schedule be a possibility? Does your child have an activity planned every night of the week? While I’m not suggesting canceling tutoring or academic pursuits, like Cheri, you could substitute dance or piano lessons for a family night at home.
Here are a few ideas on how enjoy a family night:
- Cooking a Meal together.
- Playing a card game.
- Learning how to bake.
- Sharing a hobby you love with your children.
- Buy a Calligraphy set and practice together.
- Paint with Numbers or Color.
- Plant an Indoor Garden.
- Learn how to play an instrument together (check out YouTube Instructional Videos).
- Look at old photo albums. Remembering old memories brings laughter.
- Plan a skit or a play to perform for extended family.
Think of something fun and relaxing which would allow for “talking time” with your child. This kind of bonding time is precious for your child. They’ll love the personal one on one time.
Through it all in 2017, cherish precious family time as golden moments. Fully engage, be present and laugh enjoying time with your children. These are the wonderful moments that make up our year. Not rushing here and there, fighting traffic, saying “yes” to every activity and being run down from the pace of life. How do you plan to slow down in 2017? Share your story below; I read each one.