Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you all had a nice long weekend. From my understanding, most of the U.S. observes the third Monday of February as Presidents' Day, while most of Canada observes it as either Louis Riel Day, Heritage Day, or Family Day.
But today, I want to talk specifically about family. Because no matter what holiday you observe, a long weekend is (hopefully) time you get to spend with loved ones.
I didn’t know this before writing this blog — but the very first Family Day in Canada was observed in Alberta, in the year 1990, and was proposed by the premier at the time, Don Getty. Establishing this holiday was supposed to counteract (what the premier viewed as) the decay of family values in Alberta, by encouraging workers to spend more time with their families.
It’s not always easy to create spaces for connection. Even when we’re under the same roof, we sometimes get sucked into our devices and forget to appreciate the small moments. And if you don’t make time for a true connection, it can feel like you’re sleepwalking through life.
So here’s my question of the day — do you feel like you spend enough time with your family? What are some of the ways you carve out spaces for quality time?
What is quality time? Why is it important?
First of all, what is quality time? It’s time when everyone is present — grounded in the space they’re sharing with someone else. You’re not on your phone. You’re not thinking about a work problem. You’re plugged into the other person . . . you’re there with them. Maybe that’s dinner time for you. Maybe that’s reading your child a book before bed. What truly matters is the quality of your attention.
While we can sometimes view social interaction as draining, true connection will energize and soothe. True connection will ground you, give you a sense of belonging. Peace arises when someone can just be with you, without asking anything of you. Presence is the ultimate gift you can give your friends, your parents, your children.
How can we carve out quality time?
Maybe it’s engaging in an activity — either a team sport or a board game. Maybe it’s a trip you plan together or a creative project.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite ideas for family bonding:
- A seasonal recipe (think BBQ sauce or jam). Design labels for the bottles or jars.
- A weekly board game night
- A separate date night for each of your kids (so they can have one-on-one time with you; so you can get to know them better as individuals)
- A yearly challenge (like long-distance cycling, a hike, or a marathon) that involves training and planning
- A 1000 piece puzzle. Leave it in a common area so that everyone can contribute. It’s a great talking point (“Who finally filled in the border?”) and there’s a common sense of achievement when it’s completed.
- Regular family meetings — a space where each person can discuss what’s going on in their lives … their goals, their emotions, or challenges they’ve been facing
- Family movie nights. Choose the movie in advance. Plan out the snacks. Wear special pajamas!
- Write a book together. Choose a story, have your kids illustrate, get the final version printed and bound, and then put it on your bookshelf.
- Create a short film! Write the script, make the costumes, and act it out.
- A family garden project. You can keep a journal on how things are moving along.
So those are some of my favorite ideas — but what about you? What are your favorite family bonding activities? Let me know in the comments below!
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