Dear RezilientKidz Team,
Since school has started it seems like our family is moving at breakneck speed. Even when we’re not running our kids to sports, music lessons and other activities, we’re all totally absorbed in work, homework, church activities, or any number of other things that are basically “good.” We’re not burned out yet, but I’m afraid we’re headed there. How can we keep from going off the rails?
We’re blessed to live at a time where so many wonderful things are available to us. Our kids can reap the benefits of team sports, learn to play a musical instrument, dance, and study hard to get good grades that will set them up for a brighter future—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s no wonder so many families seem overwhelmed by good things!
Parents aren’t immune to the deluge. We’re busy doing important things like handling responsibilities at work, as well as carrying out family duties such as getting kids to sports events and practices, helping them with homework, and keeping the house organized. Add to that the other truly worthy items we put on our agendas: serving on the PTA, volunteering at church or in the community, etc. If we’re not careful, the numerous duties and activities that fill our days can wear us out and suck the joy out of life. What’s the solution?
Certainly, one thing we can do is distinguish the truly “must-do” items on our calendars from the non-essentials. Be completely honest—how many of the things you might label as necessary are really things you want to do or have been “guilted” into doing? Are there any activities or commitments that are not mission-critical and can be jettisoned?
Clearing the calendar isn’t enough. For a family to be healthy we need to add something—fun. To some that might seem frivolous, but research indicates that having fun (aka “play”) has real advantages. It fosters creativity, helps children develop cognitive, social and emotional skills, and provides a mechanism for coping with stress. And it’s not just for kids. Studies show that many of the benefits that children get from play apply to adults too. Lest you think “I’m too busy to play,” consider that playing and having fun actually translate into better performance at work and home. And when parents and kids play together the result is a strengthened bond between all family members. Asset #20: Time at Home is often overlooked due to our busy schedules. Take some time as a family and begin to build some scheduled family time around good conversation and fun.
Now here’s some good news for budget-conscious families—fun can be simple and cheap! Here are just a few examples:
- Have a family game night or start a puzzle.
- Use some sidewalk chalk and draw a picture on your driveway or sidewalk.
- Go on a hike through the woods and listen for different sounds (or ask your kids to think of sounds they don’t hear that they might hear at home).
- Delve into an exciting book before bedtime, and let your kids take a turn at reading if they’re up for it.
- Go on a bike ride together.
Be intentional about having fun with your family and you’ll all benefit. Now go out and play!