Make the Most of Family Time

Family time is essential, but unfortunately seldom for many families. Between work, school, chores and other daily tasks and worries, it can be hard to find some time to really sit down and relax with one another. No matter how busy life can be, there are some life hacks that can help to maximize family time, regardless of your busy schedule.

Collaborative Meal Time
Studies have shown that families that eat together, and make a habit of sharing sit-down meals, fare better in many aspects of their lives – outside of familial bonding, kids who eat dinner every night with their families are shown to perform better in school and develop key communications skills as well. But making dinner, or any other meal, is only half the battle, so why not include the rest of the family in on the gig?

Having kids read instructions, gather and measure ingredients and perform other culinary tasks can help their reading, math, problems solving and even their domestic skills. Additionally, kids who help prepare their food are more likely to try new things or even eat their vegetables. But most importantly, by making and sharing meals together, you’re also creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Involve the Kids
Errands can get in the way of things you might want to do more, whether it’s family game night or going to a movie. But sometimes simply spending time in the same room together can be enough. If you can, try to complete menial chores like organizing, folding laundry, or even cleaning together with your kids. Getting chores out of the way is important, but completing them together can help make a difference. If you can find ways to compromise, like going through your receipts while kids complete their homework, can still provide for time together if while you’re getting separate things done at once.

Weed Out Time Wasters
Many of us do things out of habit and may not realize just how much time out of our day we spend doing those things. Scrolling through Facebook, checking email, playing games and other distractions can take up more time than you realize. While it’s still essential that everyone in the family have time to themselves, you might find that you do certain things more than you realized and that you could do with some cutting down.

Revise Your To-Do List
It’s easy to overload your To-Do List, and many people feel like their list just never ends. It may help to take another look at your list and see what’s actually feasible. One great way to do this is to categorize your tasks by priority. This way, you can still have important things listed that you may not get around to today, but don’t feel so bad about completing tomorrow. And while you’re revising and reorganizing your list, make sure to schedule in some family time! Time can easily slip away from people, especially those with already busy schedules, but penciling in a reminder is a great way to tell yourself that you should take a break and consider what’s really important in life for a moment, and make some memories.

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Don’t Just "Watch" Your Kids Spend "Time" With Them

So many of us lead busy lives, especially those of us who are also raising families. Finding time for quality family activities can be difficult, and for parents who have endless chores, household tasks and other errands to run while also raising children, its even more difficult. Often, parents delegate the task of “watching the kids” between one another, and occasionally older children, so that everything can get done while the smaller kids are still looked after. But “watching” your kids is different than spending time with them, so how can you create a better balance with all of your responsibilities while also allotting for family time and making sure that the children are well-behaved and safe?

Finding time to spend with your family can be a struggle, but it is also one of those things that you will regret missing out on. As kids grow older, their interests change and sooner or later, they grow up fast and move out on their own. Sure, it is the responsibility of a parent to ensure that their kids and their family are provided for, but it is also important to spend time with them when you can as well.

It can be difficult to find time to spend together, but there are some ways in which you can incorporate your errands and life’s other tasks with spending quality time with your kids.

Cook together. Cooking together has shown to have many positive benefits for both parents and children alike. Asking your child to read off ingredients and instructions to you while you prepare a recipe can help to engage their reading and comprehension skills. When kids have a hand in the meals that they eat, they are more likely to try new foods, especially vegetables or healthier dishes, which kids are notorious for being reluctant to try. It also provides you and your child with a wealth of quality memories that you will share forever.

Eat together. Sharing meals is also important. Studies have shown that there are plenty of advantages to spending at least one meal with your entire family on a regular basis where everyone sits down together, talks, and spends time together. Not only does this allow you to spend some quality time together, but it provides you with a time in which you can discuss what’s going on in your lives, the neighborhood, or even the world, and it is a routine that can be incredibly beneficial to the overall foundation of your family, too.

Play! The idea that parents need to “watch” their children can oftentimes put a negative lens over the notion of parenting. “Watching” your kids makes your responsibility as a parent more akin to babysitting, which is not what a parent should do. Sure, there will be times where you need to complete a task or run errands while your children are around and you will need to keep an eye on them in order to make sure that they are okay, but labeling the act of being an active parent as “watching” kids can be detrimental. Try to take some time to get down on the floor next to your child and play with what they’re playing. Play a game, read a book, put on a play, or even watch their favorite show with them, while asking them questions about their favorite character or favorite part of the episode along the way.

There are ways in which you can be an active parent instead of being a passive one. When you can, try to incorporate your children into your tasks, such as cooking or cleaning, and make sure that you spend some time playing with them and learning about their interests. Even fleeting moments can be meaningful, and these moments can certainly add up and grow even more meaningful over time.

Are You Missing Out On These Simple Basic Tips To Teach Your Kids To Read?

Parents sometimes forget that education doesn’t just start at school. Parents really need to consider teaching their children basic skills before school even starts. The reason why this is recommended isn’t to give kids an edge, but it is highly suggested because it is important that kids are already familiar with concepts that their teachers will spend the school year discussing. It does help if children already know the basics, however, teaching your kids how to count and to read isn’t meant to make them better than other kids – it’s meant to help your child go through school much more smoothly and with personal success.

Label everything in your home

Reading is integral to learning. Beyond reading itself, other subjects require that you read about them and understand them. For example, every school subject has a text book full of definitions and examples. Teachers write on the chalkboard so kids can copy notes for reference. Worksheets, exercises and other assignments require writing skills as well as reading comprehension skills – so why not begin teaching your child to read from the very beginning?

Turn Your Home into a Reading Rich Environment
There are many ways in which you can implement reading while your kids are growing up. Place letter magnets on the fridge. Have books everywhere, whether they are for kids, adults, or even babies. Label everything. Encourage your children to sound out letters of everything in the house. Familiarizing them with letters and words around the house and with things that they see every day can make reading come much more naturally to them, and learning can feel more like fun.

Cook Together – and Use Recipes!

Cooking with Kids

Having your children help out with meals like dinner can make for some great family time, but it can also help introduce kids to new foods and healthy ones, too. Studies show that kids are more likely to eat food that they had a help in preparing, so it’s a great tactic for getting your children to finish their vegetables! But making food with your kids can be great for another reason, too. If you’re cooking, you’re following a recipe, right? Have your kids read off ingredients and have them spell out the steps involved. You can even help them write down a family favorite recipe, too!

Point Things Out in the Car
You pass by words every day. While driving you zoom past storefronts and signs, so why not point them out to your kids? You can even turn this into a fun game. Ask them to spot certain letters and words as you drive around town. This will familiarize them with letters and words and help your kids look out for opportunities to read everywhere as well.

Spend Some Quality Family Time Together
There are so many things you can do to have fun and relax with your family. One of the most popular things families can do together is have family game night. Incorporating kids into bigger games that contain words and rules can help boost their confidence and inspire them to learn to read on their own. You can start out by helping them, but they may soon want to venture out as their own player in whatever game you are playing which may help them want to learn to read so that they can feel like one of the grownups.

Reading Bedtime Stories

Don’t Underestimate Bedtime
Reading to your child is integral to their lifelong relationship with reading. The more you read to or with your kids, the more likely they will form a healthy relationship with books and literacy. Make it a habit to read every night or at various parts of the day so that reading becomes a staple in both of your lives.