Between soccer practice and status updates, today's families are busier than ever. Bring everyone together with 10 things to do as a family every day.
1. Show Affection
Photo © sebadanon / stock.xchng
Young kids crave attention while your teenagers will roll their eyes if you step one foot toward them. But every one of your children, from the 6 year old to the 16 year old needs affection. One of the most important things to do as a family every day is to show affection toward each other. Dish out kisses and hugs to the little ones. For your teens, you may have to settle for a high 5 as you pass them in the hall. Don't forget your spouse, either. Making your married life a priority
benefits your whole family.
2. Say Thank You
Photo © Dmitry Ersler / Fotolia
You've probably heard of the tradition of family members telling each other what they're thankful for on Thanksgiving. Don't limit the thank yous to once a year. Let everyone in your family tell each other what they're thankful for every day. Take the time to gather as a family early in the morning or before bed to share your thanks. This is a good way to show kids how to be thankful
and it makes everyone consciously think of new reasons to be thankful every day.
Photo © Eric Hamiter / Flickr
The dog just made himself a bed in the piles of baby laundry you need to fold. Dinner is supposed to be on the table in 10 minutes but the meat's still frozen. Your youngest just reminded you the school needs 48 cupcakes first thing in the morning. The only thing separating your chaotic life from a sitcom is the laugh track. Bust that stress when you laugh with your family every day. Tell a knock-knock joke. Start a tickle fight. Laugh for no reason. Research shows laughter really is the best medicine
. Besides, who doesn't want to hear those tiny shrieks of laughter from their favorite people in the world?
Photo © hortongrou / stock.xchng
5. Prepare Nutritious Snacks
Photo © Monika Adamczyk / Fotolia
When kids get hungry, it's easy to reach for the potato chips or cookies to give them a quick fix. Turn their hunger pangs into a healthy activity. Prepare nutritious snacks
together. As they help you get their snacks ready, they learn to make healthy eating choices
that will last them a lifetime.
6. Read Books
Photo © Paul Burns / Getty Images
Your family moves at a lightning-quick pace. Curl up with a good book to slow them down and encourage a love of reading
. Younger kids, even babies, will enjoy looking at picture books with mom and dad. Teens can read the latest vampire love saga with their parents. Take turns reading a page or designate a family member to do all of the reading aloud for the evening. Time is the keyword here -- everyone gets downtime, quality time and story time all rolled into one.
7. Go Green
Photo © Paul Burns / Getty Images
Raising a green family
helps the environment and gives your family a daily project. Sort those old magazines, plastic bottles and aluminum cans and apply green living strategies
to your everyday life. Remind the kids to turn off the water while they brush their teeth and turn off the lights when they leave the room. Not only will your kids get into an eco-friendly routine, those green habits will save you money on your water and electric bills.
8. Clean the House
Photo © Maria Teijeiro / Getty Images
9. Eat Together
Photo © pnijhuis / stock.xchng
Everyone's clamoring to get out the door in the morning. At lunchtime, kids are usually at school and spouses are at work. Dinner is typically the one meal of the day when you can all come together. Turn off the TV. Hide the cell phones in a drawer. Get everyone to pull up a chair to the family table and enjoy a meal together. There are many benefits of a family meal
and spending time with your loved ones every day of the week is just one of them.
10. Discuss Your Day
Photo © Manchan / Getty Images
How was your day? It's a common question we ask when our spouse comes home from work. It's important to ask everyone in your house about their day too. Encourage your younger children to talk about their day or let them draw pictures if that's easier for them. Get a conversation started with your teens to connect with them. Explore each other's days
and really pay attention to what your kids have to say. Even if you were with them all day and know exactly what they did, you'll still learn something new when they share their perspective of the day's events.