Advertising
Advertising

10 Ways To Maximize Quality Family Time This Summer

10 Ways To Maximize Quality Family Time This Summer

It’s summer! And also school holidays!

We get so tied up with the daily hustle and bustle that sometimes we forget to be in the moment with the people closest to us, and before we know it, a season has passed.

Advertising

This summer, make it a memorable one when you switch over to ‘family and loved ones’ mode and turn off your email notifications instead.

Here are 10 Ways To Maximize Quality Family Time This Summer

  • Go to the beach, playground or theme park. Go on heart pumping adrenaline rushing rides.
  • Bonding sessions – try something you have always wanted with your family. Sign up and go do it together.
  • Learn something together for the first time (beading, arts & crafts making, painting lessons, skating, baking courses).
  • Explore a new place or find new food to try (and, engage them in finding the new location you are going).
  • Do something that is an all-time favourites in the family (camping, fishing, swimming).
  • Solve a puzzle together.
  • Go picnic, do bbq (and kite-flying) together.
  • Ask them to teach you something, and vice versa.
  • Tell them your childhood stories.
  • Take a summer family portrait together. Not ‘selfies’. Proper photos and frame it up.

Family activities are often thought to be routine, but that’s only true when you let them be! With the above, you don’t even need to spend on staycations or expensive holidays to have fun.

Advertising

How to make time

It’s hard to get time off especially when you are bogged down by work and other commitments. Our job pays our bills. The work we do could even be our passion, but the time and moments spent with people who matter to us overwrite them all. How about starting with the below steps?

  1. Plan the activities with your family. There is nothing better than doing something that everyone is excited about instead of you picking one that you think they will like.
  2. Take at least three days off your annual leave, if possible. Or take it just before or after a weekend so you have more off days to spend.
  3. Ensure you have properly handed over your to-do lists to your colleague. Before you go on your leave, work as much as you need to complete your handover. Make sure you cover everything so you don’t get calls in between your holidays.
  4. Activate your out-of-office notification. Or have the emails forwarded to your colleague who is taking over.
  5. On your first day of leave, disconnect from media and technology. Better yet, go somewhere where wifi is barely existent. You’d be surprised that your children would be asking for it more than you.
  6. And set off! Immerse in a fun and exciting summer with your family.

There are bound to be disagreements and hiccups along the way, but that’s what makes it fun and memorable! Take disagreements with a grain of salt and go ahead with what you have planned anyway.

Advertising

If you have to divert from the original plan though, so be it.

Keep It Going

Once you have started this practice, don’t stop it at there. Here are some ways that you can start doing on a daily basis even after summer is over

Advertising

  1. Be present when you are at home. Practice silencing your phone or switching off for a few hours. Some things can wait, others can’t. You know which one can’t. Be at home when at home, not multi tasking nor thinking about work or to-do lists.
  2. Pay attention and be attentive to your spouse and kids. Be fully engaged and listen to their daily happenings, be it at the park, shop or in school for that day. Share your day with them.
  3. Play together, dine together. Shower your spouse and children with more attention than you pay to your client or employer, because they deserve more than them!
  4. Work together. Do house work together, cook together, cook together, or help your child solve that difficult homework or Math problem. For all of a sudden, you might find yourself trying to solve a question more difficult than your work issue.
  5. Read bed time stories to them. Accompany them to bed. Share your childhood story with them! Reconnect with your spouse at the end of the day.
  6. Make time to get off from work earlier.
When you get older, would you remember the days when you sat in the same car with your spouse and kids but were busy thinking about something else? Would you remember what emails you were replying to when you think about the trips you’ve taken with your family, or the times when you had to rush a report telling your children to wait because you’re busy?
At the end of the day, it’s about who are with us on the whole journey and what makes you want to thrive and strive so hard. Definitely not your position in your company or the hours you lost on networking.

Make memories and build stronger bond with your loved ones.

This summer, make it the best one yet.

Featured photo credit: flickr.com via flickr.com

More by this author

8 Steps to Achieve Your Three Big Goals for 2017 How to Deal with Decision Making at Tough Crossroads of Life Could You Still Show Respect to Someone You Dislike? Would You? Why You Should Disconnect from Social Networks Once In A While be more independent 5 Ways To Be More Independent

Trending in Family Activity

1 3 Tips for Mountain Biking With Your Family 2 The Fit Mom’s Guide to Playground Workout Hacks 3 5 Tips for Staying Connected with Your Children When You’re Busy 4 30 Questions to Investigate Your Child’s Beliefs 5 4 Tricks To Ensure Your Family’s Well Being

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on September 18, 2018

Coparenting 101: 17 Helpful Strategies for Divorced Parents

Coparenting 101: 17 Helpful Strategies for Divorced Parents

When people separate or divorce, one of their biggest challenges is coparenting their children together. As a Marriage and Family Therapist in Chicago, I often see divorced parents struggle with how to raise their children together.

One parent has a certain set of rules, and the other does it completely differently. It can be a real challenge to navigate this part of the divorce process.

Yet over the years, I have seen couples successfully raise their children together after a divorce. It takes a little attention and focus, but there are number of key strategies that these divorced couples employ to make coparenting much easier.

1. Communicate clearly.

When couples who are able to communicate coparenting items easily and without much emotion, they get a lot of the work of parenting done quickly. Yet when their discussions about parenting items are filled with emotion, then it muddies the waters.

If you find yourself fighting with your ex about all sorts of coparenting issues, you might want to set up a method of communication which reduces the emotion.

Perhaps a dedicated email thread that only has parenting items might keep the channels of communication more clean.

2. Clarify rules.

Many families we see here at our practice in Chicago have different rules at different houses for their children. This can certainly work, but the rules need to be clearly defined by the parents.

Where children struggle is when they are unclear about what the rules of each house are, and then try to manipulate the rules to get their way.

Clear communication of what the expectations are at each house can go a long way towards creating balance and stability.

3. Get out of the past.

It is important to be sure that any lingering items from your marriage stay as much in the past as possible.

Of course there will by dynamics from the marital relationship that persist in the coparenting relationship, but couples benefit by bringing their relationship out of the past and trying to create new ways of interacting around parenting items.

Advertising

4. Don’t triangulate.

One of the more difficult dynamics that we see in Family Therapy is when couples triangulate their children.

Triangulation is when whatever is unresolved between the parents gets transmitted through their interactions with the children.

In other words, the parents hostility and tension gets absorbed by the children and the children start acting it out. It can be very confusing when this happens, and Family Therapy can significantly help when this dynamic occurs.

5. Bless and release.

One thing that troubles a lot of people after a break up or divorce is that they continually hold on to old grudges or complaints.

In order to coparent more effectively, it can be helpful to bless and release your ex. This mean wishing them well and letting go of old hurts.

Can you hope for our ex that they have all good things and find the life and love that they are looking for? This sort of neutrality can go a long way with coparenting from a more balanced place.

6. Practice mindful parenting.

Many experts will tell parents to try to stay more calm than their child. If you are anxious, stressed and angry, then your child may become those things too.

Coparenting with an ex adds another layer of difficulty and potentially upsetting emotions. It is important to practice being mindful of your anxiety, stress and anger levels when parenting, and also when interacting with your coparent.

Finding ways to stay relaxed and put things in perspective can help.

7. Develop a support network.

Having a good team of trusted people in your corner can help to make sure you don’t feel alone in the process of coparenting. Talking with other parents who are divorced or separated might help you feel less alone in the process.

Additionally, having a trusted counselor or therapist in your corner who can help you look at your blind spots, can make a big difference.

Advertising

8. Practice presence.

Staying in the moment when parenting can be a useful thing whether you are coparenting, doing it alone, or alongside your partner.

Our minds can race all over the place when we are managing a lot of things in our family life. Yet taking time to stay in the moment and be present with your child will help calm and stabilize the situation.

If you are worried about future events, or stressed about what happened before, it takes you out of the present, which can be full of opportunities for meaningful experiences with your child.

9. Practice “I” statements.

A lot of couples will get in trouble by blaming their ex in front of their child. It can be difficult for them not to criticize their ex, or say something disparaging. Yet this can have a negative impact on the child.

Instead of pointing the finger, it helps to practice “I” statements. Talk about your frustration and how you get overwhelmed by difficult situations rather than commenting on how your ex made mistakes or is selfish.

Talking about your own experience helps you own your own power in the situation.

10. Learn to compromise.

If coparents are constantly arguing about their schedules, money, or what the rules are, then it can cause a very hostile and chaotic environment for the children.

Yet couples who learn to work together and compromise on the endless, daily family items that need to be negotiated, end up creating a more stable and calm environment for their children.

Even if you insist that you should have the children on a particular holiday because your ex had them the previous year, being willing to compromise and make alternate arrangements can pay off in the long run.

11. Give a little.

Coparents who are generous with one another, even if they are still upset about their breakup, help create an environment of wellbeing in their family.

If your coparent asks for a random extra weekend with the children, and you know that it is your turn that weekend, being generous and giving a little can go a long way towards generating good will.

Advertising

Withholding and counting each fairness and unfairness creates a less generous and more stingy family environment.

Of course you don’t want to compromise yourself and give over too much, but keeping on the lookout for when you can give just a bit more, can help the wellbeing of everyone involved.

12. Talk with your children.

Parents who worry about the potentially negative influence that their ex will have on their children do well by talking more with their kids.

If you are worried about what your ex might say to your child, it helps to have a good, open line of communication with the child such that you can better understand how they see the world.

It helps if they can talk with you about their confusion or any conflicting messages that they hear from their other parent.

13. Leverage your relationship.

Your child is hard wired to want to connect with you. Parents do well to know that the greatest influence that they have on their child is their relationship with them.

Your children are attached to you, and even if they act as if they want nothing to do with you, they are still wired for your approval and care.

Finding ways to leverage the inherent attachment can help create the sort of life that you’d like for your child.

14. Attract, don’t pursue.

Don’t overly pursue a connection with your child, but instead attract their interest to connect with you. When parents are too eager to chase a child who is distancing, then the child will often distance more.

Building on the inherent attachment that your child has with you, try to find ways to create harmonious and connected moments rather than asking them tons of questions and trying desperately to create closeness.

15. Open up.

Share more with your child about what you love, and what you are passionate about. Children who hear more about what parents care about tend to follow their own passions.

Advertising

Think about how many famous athletes or musicians children are also athletes or musicians. Children tend to follow the lead of their role models, and if you share what you love, then might emulate that pursuit themselves.

This can go a long way towards creating a lasting bond that can withstand any tension in a coparenting relationship.

16. Embrace change.

A lot of coparents have hidden regrets or live in the past. They wish their family situation could be different, but don’t know how to make it better.

Embracing change can help us move out of past hurts and regrets and find new ways to create the sort of changes we are looking for.

Perhaps you can find new ways to interact with your ex that might foster new family dynamics.

17. Make room for new possibilities.

A lot of divorced or separated couples that I work with tend to become hopeless about anything new happening in the family dynamic. They see patterns of interaction repeat themselves over and over, and they anticipate it will continue this way forever.

Yet if there is one thing we can count on is that things will eventually change. Making room in your mind for new possibilities can alleviate some of the hopelessness that sometimes comes with difficult coparenting situations.

Yes you are divorced, but It is indeed possible to be good coparents. Communication and patience go hand in hand if you want to raise happy and healthy kids as a divorced parent.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Read Next