Dont let the frenzy of the holidays distract you and your family from spending quality time together. Here are five tips for making family time count this holiday season.
Between all of the parties, shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, and traveling that comes with the holidays, its easy to lose track of what really matters: quality time with your family. These five tips will help you make the most of your time off with the family this holiday season.
1. Plan ahead. Discuss the holiday calendar as a family so everyone knows what to expect. If your kids have a couple of weeks off from school, give them a clear idea of how that time will be spent. Keep the schedules and needs of aging relatives in mind, and decide ahead of time which activities will be family-only and which will involve friends and significant others.
2. Put down the iPad. Smartphones, tablets and personal gaming devices may be fun, but they tend to get in the way of personal interactions. Dont be afraid to declare the dinner table or the fireside a no-electronics zone. Try leaving the TV off, too. Youll be more likely to have a conversation.
3. Make a tradition of giving back. Service to others is a wonderful way to bring your family closer together – especially during the holidays. Consider a service project for someone in need, adopt an underprivileged family or foster child for gift-giving, or volunteer time together at a community shelter, food bank or senior center. Not only will your kids will learn the importance of giving back, youll have the privilege of making a difference as a family.
4. Schedule downtime. A schedule overloaded with events is likely to overwhelm everyone, heightening tensions and conflict. Be sure to set aside time for relaxation so you and your kids can enjoy being home, and dont feel like you have to say yes to every invitation that comes your way. Low-pressure activities like a family movie night or an afternoon hike are great ways to ease the stress of this busy time and ensure that the spirit of the season prevails.
5. Take a family vacation. Worried you never spend enough time together as a family? Book a family vacation! Heading someplace unfamiliar will break up everyones routine, force you to relax, and prevent you from taking each other for granted.
So while its easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, dont let it prevent you from spending quality time with your family. In the long run, theyll remember the time you gave them far more than the presents.