With so many obligations pulling us in multiple directions, it can be tough to keep family at the forefront. But creating a life you love, for the ones you love, is likely the reason behind a lot of the hard work you’re putting in. Ensure your family knows they’re your number one by communicating their importance through your words and actions, every day.
Mark it on the schedule.
What gets scheduled gets prioritized. Whether it’s an upcoming trip or just dinner around the table, set boundaries on your work week so that you remain a consistent touchpoint in your family’s life.
Follow through on your word.
If you say you’re going to be there, show up. There’s nothing worse than having a child who expects that you aren’t going to follow through on your commitments. Prevent this by being realistic about your schedule. If you can’t make every basketball game, let them know up front—but also explain why. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Explain to them that, if you’re working late, maybe it’s because you’re saving up for a family vacation!
Establish routines in the morning and evening
While many of us have to work during the day, kids appreciate having touchpoints when they know they can expect to interact with you. You might decide to always be the one to help them get ready in the morning or, if you have a meeting during dinnertime, to always tuck them in at night. Kids will miss you at other times during the day but having these routines will provide them with comfort and that you’re there for them no matter what.
Find space for surprises!
If you get the sense that your spouse is getting burnt out … provide them with unexpected relief. Rearrange your schedule once a month to come home early and cook dinner. Or, have a “late start” day to bring your spouse breakfast in bed, play a game with the kids, and clean around the house before heading off to your morning meetings. If you have multiple kiddos at home, you might also use these special occasions to spend time alone with a child that you normally don’t get a lot of one-on-one time with. They’ll feel seen, heard, and super special!
Take time to transition.
Giving yourself a few moments to breathe and leave any stresses from your workday behind before walking through the door helps you to be more present with your family. It’s normal to feel exhausted or overwhelmed after a busy day, but your family deserves your full attention. Save the to-do list for tomorrow and head into the house with a sincere smile and desire to spend time with the ones you love. This also means resisting answering every text or email in front of the kids when they can be handled in the morning.
Keep it fun!
When you get to enjoy special family time, brainstorm creative ideas for enjoying each other’s company. Let everyone give input as you come up with ideas, such as:
- Couch Snuggles: Enjoy a classic movie and popcorn night! Find kid-friendly movie reviews, here.
- Nature Explorers: Head to the park, walk around your neighborhood, or just hang out in the backyard as you locate interesting items in nature. Click here for free scavenger hunt printouts.
- Obstacle Course Action: Find simple, DIY ways of creating an obstacle course in your living room or backyard for your kiddos to enjoy (while burning off tons of energy). Watch this video for simple suggestions.
- Service Superstars: The family that serves together is stronger because of it. Look here for kid-friendly ideas to give back to your community, such as hosting a neighborhood canned food drive or picking up litter in a nearby park. Make serving others a family tradition.
Between your schedule and your kids’, it can be hard to fit everything in, but it’s so important to put your family first. Be flexible as opportunities present themselves because with kids, it’s all about rolling with whatever comes your way. Most importantly, set an example to your family of what it means to work hard and follow through on your commitments. You’re making sacrifices now to create happiness for everyone in the long run. Modeling delayed gratification will aid in creating a legacy that lasts.
If you’re prioritizing your family but still unhappy with how your days are turning out, you might need to rethink how you’re “Designing Your Life.” Check out our recent blog on the topic, here.