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–Philip J Reed, on behalf of Westwood College

In a couple of previous posts, we discussed an unfortunate reality of modern life:  a lack of time to spend with the family.  Obviously this is a problem that affects everybody to different degrees.  One family might lament the fact that it only gets a few nights per week to spend together as one cohesive unit, and another might be lucky to get even a few minutes together.

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon that both parents work, and it’s certainly not uncommon that teenage children work as well.  Everybody has their own commitments – be they professional or personal – and getting all of the schedules to align can be tricky at best.  But that doesn’t have to mean that “quality time” is off the table entirely; you just might have to be more creative about where you find it.

SUGGESTION #3:  Embrace the Spirit of the Holiday(s)

It’s November, and this past Halloween is still a recent memory.  The major holidays, as we all know, can be stressful.  The number of days in a week doesn’t increase, but we need to accomplish so much more.  There are plans to make and keep, parties to attend, friends and family to see and feed, gifts to purchase, decorations to make or hang up, and so on depending upon the holiday in question.  That can all be quite stressful, but here’s the good news:  it can also be a great way to spend more time with your family.

Young children, in particular, love holidays.  Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthdays…the holidays  are all magical to them in such distinct ways.  Whichever holidays you choose to celebrate with your family, therefore, can automatically be a great time to get more involved in each other’s lives.

Think about any of the traditional things that families have done for generations.  Carving pumpkins, hanging decorations, trimming a tree…any of that is a perfect opportunity to get the entire family involved.  Work together to select and hang decorations.  Decide which activities you will do, and schedule a time to do them so that everybody can be available.  The time you spend with your family is reward enough in itself, but accomplishing holiday tasks in the process means you can be productive as well as attentive!

Start your own traditions as well.  Talk to your family and find out what they would like to do.  Select a few activities that can appeal to everybody, and try them out!  The more interested your family is in doing something in the first place, the more likely they will want to keep doing it, year after year, and expanding a little more the time you spend together operating as a team.

Remember, your family is your family!  No two families are exactly the same, and they won’t celebrate the same holidays in the same ways.  That’s why we’ve avoided (for the most part) discussing specific activities in this article.  But there will definitely be activities and events your family can enjoy, so ask them what they’d like to do, and involve them in anything that you plan on doing to celebrate the holiday.  Something like hanging decorations can be transformed from a “chore” to an “activity” with just a small change of mindset, so take advantage of that!

The holidays are a time for togetherness.  Keep that sentence in mind, and you’ll find more opportunities for quality time than you realized existed.

And after a long day of decorating or other activities, don’t just split up and go to bed!  Depending upon the time of year, conditions might be perfect for a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, or The Ten Commandments.

About the author:  Philip J Reed works in association with Westwood College.  Westwood offers a wide variety of programs and degrees at 17 separate campuses, and also offers a comprehensive online college experience, which may be of particular interest to busy parents.  For information and answers to any questions you might have, please visit the college website.