Make What’s Most Important Most Important

One morning last week, I made myself my favorite breakfast – fruit-filled pancakes – before heading downstairs to my home office to get my day started.

Shortly before I finished, I used some of the batter to prepare a plain pancake for my teenage daughter (she doesn’t seem to feel that pancakes and fruit go together), and she decided to sit down to eat it. This is a girl that almost never eats breakfast, certainly not in the kitchen.

So, instead of making my way downstairs, I sat down right there in the kitchen and ate with her.

We chatted about breakfast, school, and other stuff.

It was short but pleasant and a great way for both if us to start our days.

Sometimes, in our rush to get to work and (officially) start our days, we jump in, power up and plow ahead, leaving our lives behind for the time being.

At least, that’s what usually happens to me.

But on this day, I was a little smarter, and found a way to connect with one of my most favorite people. The rest of my day was richer for it.

I am the first to admit that I don’t always walk the talk when it comes to family time. I write about balance and priorities but can often be found at my computer when I probably should be more present for my family.

(Author’s note: As I was writing this post, the same daughter, who was home early due to snow, asked me to take her across town to her friend’s house where a bunch of girls were playing. I told her that it needed to wait – after all, I had things to do and had just taken her older sister to her friend a short while earlier – before it dawned on me how hypocritical I was being. See? I told you it’s a challenge!)

The brief breakfast story above served as a reminder of how just 5-10 minutes can be the difference between a me/work-first day to a we/they-first day.

I could go on about the merits of maintaining balance and prioritizing family, friends and community. Or, you could learn more here.

In this post, I will list some ways to make more family time (with your kids and sometimes your spouse too) out of the things that you already do.

  1. 🍲Have dinner together – Schedule your evening to make sure that you are home in time for dinner. Eating dinner as a family allows you to be a part of your family’s daily conversations. Once you’ve made time to have dinner together, why not also spend another 30 minutes going on a walk with them afterwards?

  2. 🤝Recruit their help – If something is broken or the leaves need to be collected, encourage your spouse or kids to help you. Sometimes such chores will feel like a drag, but they can be made exciting. Once you’re working together, you can feel a whole different level of connection and cooperation.

  3. 🛏Put them to bed – Reading to your children for 15-30 minutes each night before bedtime is a great way to spend time together. Choosing books to read and discussing them are ways to share ideas and values with your children. Even older kids often like to be read to or have a chat before they doze off.

  4. 🚗Bring them to school and work – Make it a point to bring your child to school or to any extra classes they may have. Also, if they are off from school and can come with you to work (at least to be with you during your commute, even if they then do their own things while you’re busy,) it’ll mean more quality time without having to redo your schedule.

  5. 🗓Plan a monthly excursion – Think of a new place to visit each month. Get your family to help you to plan the day. Do this on a weekend or some other low impact day. The last thing you want is to feel as if every moment is on borrowed time.