3 Secrets To Keeping Families Close

3 Daily RoutinesSHOULD I stay at home“, never becomes a option for most women as the extra income is needed to pay for the running of the family, while other moms choose to work, and don’t feel guilty of their need to have a career and family too.  The question today is a personal one.  Should I stay home? And if I do, will my children sacrifice because of it?

The fact is you can have a successful home life, and be a working mom.  It is a matter of understanding what counts, and what doesn’t.

A house with one parent at home can be just as disorderly OR lonely as a two parents having a full time job.  Here are just three tips, that if you manage to make them a habit, they will pay off for years to come, even after your children move out and get married.

1. Sit Down For Dinner TOGETHER

Even though I work full time, I sit down and eat breakfast and dinner with my children most days.

The number one habit families who stay close over the years, are those who talk with each other around the dinner table.

While it may be impossible to get the family together around the table for breakfast and lunch, supper can be a time where room can be carved out for at least a half an hour a day.

We all sit down around the table after dinner (husband included) and review home work, listen to clarinet practice and take our daughters to dance and soccer practices. I am in the PTA , a home room mom and a Girl Scout troop leader as well. We spend way more time with our children than many people we know, working or not-Cheryl on Dr Phil Comments

– Avoid letting your children take their dinner to their rooms.

– Avoid having eating in the living room in front of the tv.

– DO ask your children’s opinions, and just listen, instead of responding.

Although it is an adjustment to make this change, it is worthwhile to muster through the uncomfortable conversations and awkward silence at first. Let there be silence, if that is the case at first, but keep coming back to the dinner table as a family and over time the conversations will develop.  Conversational habits can form at the dinner table, and what other time is better than at supper to connect with your children.

2. Have Homework And Study Time In A Public Place…..

Show your children that studying and homework are things that adults do as well, and do it along side them.

Determine a central location in the house that is open enough for the casual comment and conversation, while at the same time provides some privacy, while allowing everyone to work on their individual projects.

-As a parent, allow yourself time to read that favorite book, work on your blog, or go for that extra eductional course at the local college.  What ever it is, show your children that you are also working towards a goal that they can view from a distance.

– Working in the “computer room office” always gives the signal that you are not available. What ever you are doing in there is too important. It would be awkward for them to hover over your shoulder or stand at the door, while this isn’t the case if you were working in the kitchen.  Indulge their curiosity by setting up a desk in the living room.   This gives the impression that you also have responsibilities, (much like they will have), but most importantly are available.  The key to this tip is allowing them to view you working, much like they will be doing in school for the next 12 or more years.  This is a terrific opportunity to set an example.

– Children never focus on school work when left to themselves.  Lets be honest…  There are plenty of other things that kids can focus on in their rooms, when left with the opportunity to choose between homework and games.  Being in the same room allows them to ask questions in regards to their school work, where they would other wise skip if left to themselves.

I like to sit at the kitchen table and work on a laptop next to a child of mine doing algebra. While A does worksheets (and I write my newspaper column), she is being mothered by me. Also, I can change gears fast to Google the “quadratic equation” if A gets stuck. Child aces her math class, and I meet my deadline. Score two points for the working mom-Michelle Slatalla

3. Carve Out Individual Time For Your Children

Vacations are overrated.  Yes, I said that, and it is about time someone did!  Family vacations often cost upwards of $750 or more, and because of that cost, family vacations only happen every 5 to 10 years for the average home.  Why is it that we put such a high value on vacations, when they are basically spent running from one place to the next?

So you take that trip down south for 4 days, and it is over in a second.  The money is spent, and your back to work Monday morning faster than you know.  Did you really spend quality time with your children or just entertain them, as we often do at home?

If you can’t take a formal vacation, don’t feel guilty or sorry for yourself. We certainly don’t!  One study in the Journal of Happiness Studies suggests that you might be better off booking several short trips and “consequently experiencing many brief happiness boosts,” according to researcher Jeroen Nawijn.

What children want more than ever is just a few minutes of your time, ALONE.  Yes, alone.   Here is how you do it…….

– INVITE a child with you on an errand.  Perhaps it is walking to the local grocery store, or up to get milk, what ever it is, INVITE them.  It shows them you are interested in their time.

– Value Their Opinion Involve your children in the decision process.  ASK their opinion.  Perhaps it is something as simple as choosing flower seeds at the local hardware store.  Ask their opinion, and go with it!  It can show them that you value their input.

-SMALL Slices Of Time- An all day event simply isn’t practical for most parents, however don’t underestimate the little slices of time that can be very meaningful for a child. Your weekly grocery shopping- take them.  Think about all the personal time you have.  You have time in the car, in the grocery store and on the way back home.  Who knew a simple weekly task alone with mom or dad could provide a one -on-one moment.

– Provide Time For Learning.  A task of changing a tire, showing how to repair something can be both educational, and allow for time for a father and a son to bond.  Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to create moments between a father and son, or even a daughter and a mother.  Accomplishing a task is an easy way to bridge the gap.  Whether it is gardening, or constructing something, baking…doing it together no matter how little there is conversation can be bonding.

 Picture Credit above- Pixabay