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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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  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

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Last Updated on August 22, 2019

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

More Resources About Parenting

Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

Reference

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