5 Ways to Connect as a Family When Life Gets Busy
Have you ever listed out all of the daily tasks, errands and responsibilities you have as a parent?
Packing lunches, making sure your kids have brushed and flossed their teeth (God forbid they get a cavity !), taking them all over town for their math tutoring, sports practices and doctor’s visits. Then it's the homework, the emails from the teacher, managing their screen time and the never-ending laundry! On some days, I don’t even have time to eat, which I know isn’t good, but seriously, we as parents are very busy and it can be exhausting. Can I get an Amen?
As busy as I am and I know you are too, I'm always trying to find ways to connect with my kids and protect family time. Now, I am the farthest thing from a Pinterest mom and I own it, so here are my top 5 go to’s that will make everyone feel connected. (By the way: you don’t need a lot of money and you don’t have to be creative to do these!)
Have a family game night!
Laughter really is the best cure for so many things. Having unstructured time to let loose and be silly should be a priority for all families, and especially for busy families. We carve out one night a week and usually spend about an hour playing games and having fun together. Our favorite games are Tapple, Mexican Train, Yahtzee, Charades, Heads Up, Quirkle, Sequence, Ticket to Ride, Tenzi, and Scateggories. And if we have extra time, we pull out Monopoly and then kick ourselves for thinking it would be a bonding experience. 😂
Create a family bucket list.
It’s time to start dreaming about and exploring things you want to do together as a family in the next two, five, and ten years. Start with asking each member of the family one or two things they want to do and have them write it down. You can share your ideas and post them somewhere in your home so you can plan accordingly. The other fun thing you can do is individually write down the ideas, stick them in a hat or bowl, and guess who wrote which bucket list idea.
Take turns asking open-ended questions.
If you’re wanting good, deep conversations over the dinner table or in the car, then you’ll have to stop asking, “How was school today?” and start asking questions that will make your kids think, laugh, and even process what their dreams and desires are. Now, I know what you're thinking… where do I start? What do I ask? What if my teen responds with the same “I don’t know” response over and over? We’ve got you covered. We actually wrote a book with 365 Connecting Questions for families. It all started out by us wanting our kids to feel safe to talk to us about everything. And you know what? It’s working! This book has completely changed the way we talk as a family. Pick up a copy here and see for yourself!
Go for a “walkie talkie.”
“Walkie talkie” is what we call taking a family walk either after dinner or on the weekends. While we walk, we catch up on everyone’s day and enjoy nature at the same time. It’s a free, quick way to get your body moving. Plus, males typically talk more when they are doing something active like walking, so if you have a son, this new routine could really make a difference.
Everyone needs to eat and more hands in the kitchen means more fun and less work for parents. Find healthy and simple recipes where everyone has a job that they can own. Use this time as an opportunity to talk to your kids about their day and also be sure to find small moments to compliment them about something they did recently. And if you hate cooking like I do, put on some music and make it a dancing/cooking party in your kitchen!
Remember that it’s not about the specific activity but about connecting with your kids and as a family. If you don’t make the time and put your family time on your calendar, it most likely will not happen. Now go have fun and enjoy this season of life!
Looking for more simple ways to connect as a family?
Pick up a copy of our book 365 Connecting Questions for Families!
Written by Meygan Caston
Meygan Caston is the co-founder of Marriage365 and lives in Orange County California with her husband Casey and their two children. She loves the beach, dance parties, writing, spa days, and helping couples connect in their marriage. Her life-long dream is to walk the Camino, have lunch with Brené Brown and get on The Price is Right.