With school back in session, it's easy to get absorbed in the busyness of the season. Between juggling work and school schedules along with after school activities and sports, spending quality time together can easily be forgotten. As I sit here writing this, I'm thinking about how crazy it was for the first day of school. There was very little "how was your day and what did you do" compared to "what homework do you have, let's make sure you're organized." I'm not a mom but I did nanny in the city for several years plus I live with two boys that don't have my type-A sense of organization. Needless to say, a bottle of wine was necessary for the adults and everyone just about crashed after a full night of arguing and frustration.
When there are multiple kids in a family, schedules either match up perfectly or they don't match up at all. It's usually the latter. For us, school is on the same schedule but one has football directly after school and the other has football later in the evening. This means a split dinner schedule. I cook for the first one to eat early and save dinner for the other to eat later. My point, family dinners are almost non-existent. Don't even get me started on weekends with game schedules. Finding time to all be together at once can feel impossible and that's not ok. With communication being at an all-time low due to technology, we should all be giving a lot of thought to how we can be spending more time together.
With that said, I've decided to come up with a "Family Coffee." It doesn't mean you literally have to drink coffee but schedule in one night or one afternoon each week to be all together and be present. It's one thing to all be sitting in a room looking at phones or watching TV. It's another to actually enjoy each others' company. Here are some ideas:
1. Family Game Night: Each Saturday or Sunday night, set out two hours to play a different game or one of your favorites. Have everyone put their phones aside, turn off the television and sit around a table with an old school board game.
2. Sunday Night Dinner: This is something my family does thanks to Cooking With Stanley. Usually on Sunday nights, sometimes Saturday, my entire family will come over and we'll have a great meal and just talk. Sometimes we're together for a short hour and a half, other times everyone has stayed over for more than three hours. No one is on their phones, the TV is off and we just reconnect. If weekends aren't a good time for you, make a less busy weeknight pizza night instead.
3. Weekend Day Trips: sports have the potential to make this option tricky but if you have the ability, try making day trips on the weekends. Go to a nearby town that you haven't visited before. Go to a water park while it's still warm. Go apple picking in the fall. Visit your nearest city. Find something to do away from home. It will feel like you went on a mini vacation.
4. Morning Coffee and/or Nighttime Cocoa: Depending on schedules, this one can go either way. Designate 20-minutes each morning to coffee together. While you're sipping the life force that energizes you and eating breakfast, sit together and discuss goals you have for the day or something interesting that happened the day before. Mornings are just too crazy? Movie it to nighttime. Regardless of after school schedules, everyone has to be home at some point. Have a hot cocoa powwow every night for a half hour. Use that time to discuss your day and what you're looking forward to tomorrow. Even if it's just a quick conversation each day, that's time you're all spending together and focusing on each other. It's also time you don't get back so why not spend it with family?
These are just a few ideas of how you can incorporate more family time during the school year and busy sport seasons. I get it. Since I've moved back to the suburbs, I feel like I see my family less than I did when I lived in the city simply because I take my close proximity for granted. Make that time to talk to each other and spend time with each other. Schedule in your regular Family Coffee.