What are the goals for your family time? Last week we talked about personal goals, but some of the same principles apply when I think about our family. If your children are young, sometimes it’s just a challenge to get through the day. If they are in school and activities, then we feel like taxi drivers and planners to accomplish the additional opportunities and if they are teens, we wonder what our roles have become as they emerge into independent young adults. It’s hard to understand at the time, but each interaction within the home is building your child into an adult.
Life lessons are absorbed into everyday routines. One that is a constant reminder is that “for every choice, there is a consequence”. Every time I procrastinate, I pay the price later. Every food choice, money choice or word choice will pay future dividends. As we think about family goals, reflect on your family values and what skills you really want to be important as children grow. Below are some ideas to consider.
*Mealtime is a very important event with the family. There are mounds of research that reference the importance of eating together. The conversation, sharing, and accountability that are transferred nourish the soul while the food satisfies the body. Maybe try at least one or two days a week, say Sunday and Thursday nights are family meal nights. It’s a challenge, but well worth the efforts in the end. If you start when the children are young, include them at the table and continue as they grow, the conversation habits that are started will continue through the years. Make mealtime fun, let everyone help and as they grow teach them kitchen skills that will last a lifetime.
*Family values are established within the home by the language we use, the shows allowed on TV or electronic devices, and our daily actions. Maybe there’s a trait like becoming more consistent, or being more patient that we could work on in the New Year. Maybe, it’s simply putting down the phone, turning off the TV or computer and having time to play games, read books and enjoy one another’s company. Children are watching and absorbing each action we display and storing those to reflect back to us in years to come. If I create this time when they are young, the relationship will be strong as they grow and have challenges in life that we can work through together.
*Routines and boundaries are an important guide for children. We know this when they are young, they depend on us to feed them and keep them safe. They learn to depend and trust us for this care. As they grow, the rules we enforce tell them they are loved. As parents, there is a certain amount of authority that aligns with the responsibility of raising children. What are your family rules? Does everyone know the rule and the consequences for breaking the rule?
Do you have a five-year goal? Must plan how to get there
Where do you want your family to be in the next three or five or ten years? If we don’t plan for how to get there, chances are we will be right where we are at the moment. How do I set those goals?
Be specific, what is it that I really want to accomplish; let’s use this as an example, I want to start having family meals together.
Make it measurable- we will eat on Sunday and Thursday nights. (because that’s what’s easy in our schedules-set yourself up for success)
Attainable- does that really fit in my schedule? Can I say “no” to other opportunities so we can make this happen?
Realistic- how committed to this am I? Write it down and post it in the kitchen for everyone to see the goal every day.
Put a time to it, by March 1 of 2023 we will look forward to every Sunday night together, add additional time as you can. Each month I can see the progress.
Don’t get frustrated and quit if “Life happens”, but keep building the positive habits to improve your families future.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or email@example.com
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.