The New Year is always a time of reflection — a time when you take a good hard look back over your year and dissect the areas where you excelled and the areas where you definitely had room to improve. For many, spending quality time with the family is something that is striven for, but not often achieved. If your quality family time has been lacking this year and you want to make the most of your time next year, here are some ways to reconnect.
Make family goals
This is an obvious one, but an important one. First up? Commit to making more time for your children. And because it’s the New Year and a time of making a commitment not just to better ourselves but to better each other, bring your kids in on the action and encourage them to set their own goals. Meet as a family and write down your individual goals as well as your family goals. Become a team and champion each other to succeed. Plan a reward system for anyone in the family who meets his or her goal. (Ice cream, anyone?)
Play twenty questions
When was the last time you asked your child something specific about her life? Like how she’s getting along with her BFF or to reveal her most annoying moment of the week? This year, why not make your questions fun and turn it into a game? Everyone in the family, including you, should participate and answer the same questions. Make it a regular event, like Twenty Questions Tuesdays.
Just say no to technology
If you want to connect with your kids, you need to disconnect. Repeat these three words: Unplug. Unplug. Unplug. That means, computers, cell phones, iPads… you name it. If it’s electronic, it needs to be shut off. Set a time each week that will be technology-free and use that time to talk. Perhaps you can play twenty questions!
Create a playlist
Ever heard the expression about music bringing everyone together? How about trying it on your own family? Suggest making a playlist with your children. Each family member creates a list of favorite songs and then plays them. Turn on the music during dinner. It will be a great topic of conversation!
Go back to school
Take a class with your child. Find out what your son or daughter is interested in and sign up! Maybe it’s guitar or art or even improv theatre. The sky’s the limit when it comes to having fun getting to know each other all over again.
Hit the road with your child. Take your child to see something that matters to you and in turn, take them somewhere that matters to them. Maybe you show them the house you lived in as a child or take them to your favorite city. Maybe their favorite spot is the mall or a park. No matter where you go, you’ll get to know more about each other not only when you arrive at your destination but along the way.
Surprise your child at school. Help out in the classroom or attend a field trip. Getting to know your child’s world outside of the home will only bring you closer inside the home. Can’t volunteer? Surprise your child one day and take him to lunch. It will be something he always remembers.