So much pressure these days to work harder and longer hours. Meanwhile, the economy continues to ride an unpredictable roller coaster.
It’s important to pause and look closely at not only how we budget our money but what really, at the end of the day, brings our families pleasure and connection.
So often our kids will come up and say, “Mom (or Dad), can I have 5 bucks for this and that?” Some of us automatically reach into our pockets without a second thought — without really asking what the money is going to be spent on. If we do ask, usually a cursory response from the children is enough.
But have we really heard the kids’ response — and more importantly, is it really what we or they want.
The adage about old habits applies. Take a moment on that late afternoon, and instead of financing a trip to the 7-Eleven for some sugary junk, make a snack with the children. Take 20 minutes to sit down and eat it with them.
Kids might think this means a lecture is coming. Instead, the conversation might center around which movie you want to go see together, or some song you heard on the radio. (You do listen to your children’s radio stations from time to time, right?!)
Children and families need personal contact and communication on a regular daily basis. This is more true than ever with the personal communications devices that bring complex and questionable pluses yet so many distractions.
Keep an old chess set out on a table in the living room for the family to either sit down and play for a while, or make a few moves with one another in passing. That’s a great low-fi way to maintain a connection.
Or open up a jigsaw puzzle and keep it out as an on-going project. Perhaps a large Lego set that everyone can add to from time to time. Bringing out the tried and true Scrabble, or Monopoly or Clue can bring both fun and closeness.
Even if the enthusiasm may be tepid at first, push for even one game. Mobilizing the family on a gloomy night is well worth the effort.
Remember that the budget for these activities is so low, you’ll wonder why you spent so much money on things that didn’t bring half the fun or half the closeness.
Don’t forget to make some hot drinks and snacks, and put on some music.
These are the moments you will remember. The days you all sat around a table and laughed and shouted, and felt that essential connection with the ones you love.
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