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What ways do you connect with your family during dinner?
It’s just about summer and the barbecue is starting to get a lot of use. When the weather gets hot our family likes to enjoy the evenings and cool breezes on the patio and it’s perfect for the grill, so we try to barbecue as many evenings as possible.
The school year is winding down, but we still have sports going on and it’s so hard to find time to have a decent meal and family time. This year has been one of ups and downs. As your children get older and more independent they tend to want to be on their own more. While this is healthy, I have also come to realize they need to still feel connected. They are at a crossroads going into adulthood.
From time to time in the last few years we have been through family counseling and one thing I did take out of it and try to implement more is weekly family night or game night as some call it.
The problem sometimes comes from busyness. Even the best of intentions of activities can get in the way of family time. There have been times where between the 5 of us, everyone had something going on each night of the week so we could not be together.
When you are not connecting together on a regular basis, you lose communication and it’s possible your kids can slip away or even a marriage gets neglected because of busyness and life.
It’s true what they say, you only have so many summers with your children and you need to make the most of them. Because of our financial situation and the type of work my husband does, we are not able to do normal yearly vacations, so it’s even more important to sit down and have family dinners or short day trips.
Since having dinner outside eliminates distractions like TV and electronics, it is the perfect area to have our family meal and enjoying the fresh air and nature is an added bonus.
Coming up with meals to make on a budget sometimes can be a challenge. Plus we don’t want to spend all the time cooking, we want to be spending time with the kids. This week I stopped by Walmart and picked up a pizza from California Pizza Kitchen called The Works, items for a salad, some garlic bread, and strawberries.
When I got home, I melted some chocolate and made some chocolate dipped strawberries. Then I turned on the grill and put the pizza and garlic bread on it. I quickly put together a salad and within 20 minutes we were ready for dinner.
The food was delicious. I felt like they got a great meal plus the strawberries were an added treat for them. I usually don’t barbecue, I leave that up to my hubby, but it was so easy and I wanted to be done cooking when he got home and actually it was quicker than the oven and it had a wonderful flavor. The perfect meal when you want a quick easy meal.
So this is my challenge to you. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are. There are 7 nights in the week. You need about 2 hours to clear your schedule. We have picked Mondays from 6 – 8 pm. Try some of these types of things after you eat, and see what can happen with your family.
- Take a bike ride
- Go out for Ice Cream
- Play a game
- Take a walk
- Play horseshoes
- Spend time talking about a short trip to take
- Bake a dessert together (my favorite)
- Go for a hike
- Bring dinner to a neighbor in need as a family (there are so many opportunities for this)
- Take the dog for a long walk
The key is to talk about it before you start doing it and get everyone on board so there are no conflicts. Of course, things happen and the night might be interrupted, but make your family your priority, they are worth it. Think about it. How many summers do you have left with your kids?