by Sheryl Egan-Olaivar, OTR/L
Many parents say if they’d known how quickly their children would grow and leave the nest, they would have done more together. For parents of young children, try these tips to maximize quality time together.
How much time is lost looking for the same items every day? “Where are my shoes?” “Where are the car keys?” Create a place for everything and put everything in its place! This saves time and reduces clutter to make your home more relaxing. Label a tote box for each family member to put their everyday items in as they arrive home, to easily find them next time. Store toys, hair bows and frequently used items in pocket shoe organizers on the back of closet doors and separate socks, underwear, make up etc. with small baskets in drawers.
Speed up laundry day with hampers labeled for each family member and a hanging rack with lots of hangers beside the dryer, to sort and hang clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer.
MAKE A LIST
Devote an hour weekly to plan the menu and grocery list. Include your children to teach them these valuable skills. Meal planning saves time, money, is often healthier and removes the stress of “what’s for dinner?”
Eat together as a family several times a week and ask your children “What was the best part of your day?”
Place phones out of sight. After the meal, read a book or play a favorite game together. Since the onset of social media, child experts have noticed a decline in children’s speech and social skills development. Make time to chat and listen to your children.
SEIZE THE MOMENT
Enjoy the moment! Celebrate milestones and take lots of photos. Be generous with compliments and communicate acceptable behavior; children feel more secure with clear and consistent rules. Children treated with love and respect will treat others the same and expect to be treated this way, helping to decrease bullying.
Nurture yourself as you do others by getting enough sleep, exercise and relaxation. Have trusted friends to confide problems and when angry or frustrated, pause and ask yourself “How will this really matter in 10 years from now?”
Research shows that experiences rather than things make people happier. Chances are the house will never really be clean or tidy enough to invite friends over, but just do it! The memories you’ll make are far more important than how the house looks! Creating family traditions and celebrating the holidays together can make people happier. So, go ahead and invite your friends and your children’s friends over to create fun, lasting memories!
Sheryl Egan-Olaivar is an occupational therapist and yoga teacher with more than 30 years of experience in healthcare. Reach her at email@example.com.