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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A Messy Responsibility: Teaching Kids to Clean Their Rooms

Teaching children to cleanup after themselves is important in the sense that it will help them become conscious and considerate independent individuals. As children however, their mentality may be different towards completing this task.  Therefore, it is essential that parents understand these aspects of their child’s willingness and understanding of the task at hand before giving out directions, orders, or even reprimands or punishments.

First, understand who needs the room to be clean. Most of the time, it is the parent that needs the child’s room to be clean, whether it is because company is coming over or simply as a part of the routine housework. When a child is considerably small, the cleaning of the room will be the responsibility of the parents, but as soon as children become older, it’s important that they learn how to pick up after themselves. Since it is usually the parents need for the room to be clean, it is important for parents to express why the room needs to be clean and exactly in which manner they need it to be cleaned, especially since children tend to respond more positively to clear direction. If you understand that the importance of the room being clean is not necessarily at the forefront of your child’s mind, it could help you figure out a better way to engage them about completing the task itself.

It is also important for parents to understand whether or not their desires are completely age-appropriate. Depending on the exact age of your child, they may only be able to clean up the room to a certain degree or with a certain level of awareness. Smaller children, as stated above, react and respond better to clear and precise direction, whereas older children may understand what is already expected of them and may not require as much verbal assistance.

The last thing that parents should consider when it comes to telling the children to clean their room, is just how consistent of a task this is. If cleaning the room is part of the routine, children may be more likely to remember that this is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, but otherwise, since children’s minds are not necessarily thinking of tasks and other things that they need to do without being told, it may be difficult for them to remember without friendly reminders or being offered some kind of assistance or direction.

Once all these things are considered, and you have taken a little more time to think about how you approach getting your child to clean their room, you can think of the ways in which you can help to teach them this important responsibility in an effective and positive way.

• Anything that is a part of a routine, is more likely to come easier to them. As a family, consider having a cleaning day where you all take part in household chores, including cleaning of rooms and other tasks. Making these sort of responsibilities a common and every day occurrence can help instill the importance of cleaning.

• If your child is having a difficult time staying on task, then try giving them one thing to do at a time. This can be fairly simple, such as “Pick up all the toys first,” or get creative such as “Pick up all the blue things first.” Play around with some of these ideas and see which directions your child responds to you more and go from there.

• If your child is especially reluctant to clean the room, you can always turn it into a bit of a game, but it is still important that you stress the importance of tidiness and consideration when it comes to what cleaning their rooms really means.

It definitely helps to look at tips and tricks that can help you get your child to clean the room in the first place, but the main reason why you are encouraging them to do so is to help instill a meaningful sense of responsibility.

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How To Get Your Kids to Listen to You

As a parent or guardian, it is important that children listen to you. This is not a means of bossing them around but a parent or guardian’s job is to help guide kids down the right path, to teach them valuable life lessons, to help dispense a sense of purpose and responsibility and to make sure that they take care of themselves and remain mindful. At times, it can be difficult to get children to listen and many parents grow frustrated with the difficulties. You may not know what to do or how to handle a situation, but there are some ways you can help better ensure that kids listen to you and that your relationship remains healthy.

Get on Their Level
When parents and guardians get frustrated, some often tend to resort to yelling. However, this does not help any situation and can possibly make matters worse. In order to get another person to listen to you, it helps to better understand why they may not be responsive. Get on your child’s level in order to gain some perspective. Some kids may not be actively trying to ignore their parents but they may simply be acting their age. Try to understand why your child may not be listening and go from there before doing anything else.

Make Your Presence Known
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous at times. If children are distracted, it may be more a testament to their age and the current level of their brain development rather than a conscious desire to ignore you. You don’t have to do anything drastic, but sometimes a tap on the shoulder, a gentle touch at the elbow or another sign that you are present can help bring their attention and focus to you and what you have to say to them.

Define Your Limits
Many parents might find themselves yelling their throats hoarse by yelling and calling their child’s name through the house that dinner is ready or it is time to leave for school. Some kids may simply tune out this noise or not understand the urgency, so it is essential to lay down some ground rules. Sit your child down and explain to them what it means when you call their names and what it is that you would like for them to do in response. Tell them that you would like for them to come to you or at least respond, it’s about being respectful. For example: “I would be happy to ask you to put your jacket on but after that we are walking to the car without you.” Let them know that listening is not so much as taking orders from you but more so an integral part of working as a team with the whole family. When it comes to other things such as bedtime, try a three-minute warning, such as “You have three minutes to finish playing your game but when those three minutes are up it is time for bed.” Giving them some space but still laying down rules can help them understand that what you are telling them is important while still giving them some space, as opposed to turning things off without warning or yelling, and calling their name repeatedly.

Communicate Effectively
Children are people in the making, and by explaining to your child why you are telling them what you want can help them understand why they need to do the things that you say. Instead of saying “Because I said so,” so many times, taking the time to explain your reasons and why some things are important will help children listen in the future so that you may not even have to take these extra measures if they take it to heart. Children are people, too, and by understanding them and having them understanding you they can begin to better understand why you tell them to do certain things without feeling like you are bossing them around or being unfair.

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