Now the silly season is coming to a close most families will be feeling the pinch of being over-committed and stretched thin. Families adjust to the odd situation of spending more time together with extended family at events, parties, concerts, shindigs and annual get-togethers while also feeling less loved up and connected. Stress levels rise, voices are raised, kids are stuffed in the car for yet another visit or road trip and everyone is a bit grouchy.
The picture of a loving family is lost in the fuss of the season and you run the risk of spending January reconnecting the dots that make up your family. So how do you put the brakes on and take some time to get back to basics with your kids?
Turn on some music and listen to it
With little kids, pick some upbeat music on YouTube and boogie around the kitchen. With older kids, take the time to ask why they like the music and what it means to them. Talk about music you like and what you liked when you were their age. You can do this in the kitchen, in the car or on a walk as well so it’s a go-anywhere, do-it-anytime kind of fix.
Spa it up
Painted toenails is a great way to reconnect, and kids big and small like a splash of colour. For older kids, maybe a bubble bath or hair colouring session is on the cards. Hair chalk or coloured hair spray makes the change temporary, as can some temporary tattoos!
Get down and play!
Turn off the TV, put down the electronic device, and get out the trains, board games, dolls or playdough. Even the shortest play time will make you smile and laugh. Let them lead the play and use your imaginations together.
Make a meal together, such as self-assembled pizzas or self-threaded kebabs, and talk. Make bread, get your hands working together and listen as the kids chatter. The idea is to spend the time in a task that “even” kids can do, so you can connect on common ground.
Learn what touch your kids like do they like to wrestle, or sit close enough to touch, or hold a hand when walking? The moments that make up quality time need to involve intentional touching, such as a hug, a high five or a handshake, and not just the functional caring touch that we use with babies and children.
End the day together
Have a sleep out on the lounge room floor with popcorn and a movie, or all pile into one bed and listen to an audio book. Kids young and old will snuggle and reconnect in the dark.
Quality time is made up of little moments of ordinary time that come together when kids and parents connect and enjoy time together.
What’s your favourite family connection routine? Do you eat Sunday lunch together, or go for a swim in the ocean at dawn? Do you know how your kids like their hot chocolate and they know how you like your coffee?
How well do you know each other?