With your entire family
When I was younger, my family always had Sunday dinner together. Whether it was around the dining table or in front of the football game, there was one night where we knew we would all be eating together. Admittedly, Sunday dinners have fallen by the wayside in my household—but it’s such a beautiful way to facilitate quality time that it’s definitely worth reinstating.
Find something that your family enjoys that everyone can participate in: is there an annual event you’d like to make it a habit to attend? An arts and craft project where your kids watch their skill level grow as they get older? Perhaps an annual vacation?
With your children
Though it may not always seem as though children recognize the value of time with their parents when they are children, they will certainly see it clearly when they are adults looking back on the experiences that helped shape them.
My mother and I used to share “tea time” when I was a child. We would sit at the table over two mugs of tea and talk and giggle like girlfriends. She would also make tea for me whenever I was feeling unwell. And now, as an adult, I drink at least 2 cups of hot tea per day; partially because of the health benefits, but also because through the memory of that tradition with Mom, I equate tea with comfort, love and soothing.
Similarly, my son and I have had dinner “dates” since he was about 4 years old. During these dates, he has my undivided attention and we talk and catch up on the little things that sometimes get lost in the shuffle of other priorities. I also use this as an opportunity to subtly teach him how to conduct himself, and how to treat a woman when he’s on a real date. And it’s something that (I hope) we can do no matter how old he gets.
Tap into what your children like or respond to and find ways to connect with them on that level. If you have more than one child, customizing your experiences with them is a great way to show them you recognize their unique personalities.
As we grow older, get married, have kids and take on more adult responsibility, it gets harder and harder to carve out time for our friends; but it is paramount that we do so. I find that girl time is an opportunity to recharge and reconnect with my friends, but also with myself—and what makes me “me” outside of roles that I assume in my day-to-day life. My friends and I have girls’ nights every other month (or so) where we all gather at one person’s place and curl up on the couch with snacks and drinks to catch up on each other’s busy lives.
Do you and your friends have designated times that you get together? If not, why not instate a monthly (or quarterly if it better accommodates) meet-up for brunch, cocktails, a movie night or a potluck dinner? The actual activity is up to you; just make it a regular occurrence and make it fun!
What are some of your favorite traditions—at the holidays, or all year long?