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[From Brent: welcome our guest blogger today, Philip Reed. I look forward to the rest of his series on spending time with your family. Be sure to visit his links.]

–Philip J Reed, on behalf of Daybreak

We know what it’s like to not have enough time in the day.  Many of us work long hours to keep our families comfortable and secure, and that may not leave us with as much room for “quality time” as we would like.  Every parent knows how rewarding and important it is to spend time together as a family, and yet we are often overcome with feelings of guilt because sometimes that time just doesn’t seem to exist.

For that reason, we have decided to put together this series.  None of us have all the time we would like to accomplish all the things we’d need to and like to do, so the least we can do is make the best of what time we do have.  In each installment, we will discuss one way to make sure you have time to bond with the family…even when you didn’t think you had time at all.

SUGGESTION #1:  Make the Most of Your Commute

We know it’s difficult to get everybody’s schedules to align.  When your children are very young it might not be much of a problem, but as they get older they will make friends, and, of course, they will make plans with those friends.  All of a sudden, you have several schedules to juggle if you want to spend time together, and that is not always easy.  Between your job, your spouse’s job, your own personal commitments as a couple and now your children’s burgeoning social lives, how will you ever spend any time together?

The answer might be easier than you think:  the car ride.  Whether you take your children to school or just over to a friend’s house to drop them off, make full use of that car ride.  Invite your spouse along as well; everybody likes a nice, relaxing ride now and again.  It’s a great opportunity to have everybody together, and you can use that time – however long or brief it may be – to discuss their day, their plans with their friends, and what they’re looking forward to doing on the weekend.

It’s also a great time to bond over car games, from the simple “I Spy” to seeing if they remember the correct way to get their friend’s house, thereby teaching and building valuable navigation and orientation skills.

You can even bond over the radio.  Do you know what your son or daughter’s favorite song is?  If they’re like many children, it changes regularly.  So stay in touch!  Listen to music together.  Ask about their favorite entertainers, and get an idea of the kind of songs they enjoy.  (This can also help you to steer them away from material you might find objectionable, but don’t yet realize they listen to.)  What’s more, you can even expose them to your favorite music in return.  They might make fun of you for liking “old people music,” but, of course, you’ll know they’re doing it out of love.

And, besides, isn’t the sound of their laughter reward enough in itself?

About the author:  Philip J Reed works in association with the Daybreak community in Utah.  Daybreak is a community committed to providing sustainable housing, healthy living, and a strong sense of family values.  Information can be found at the Daybreak website.