Just choose one of these each month to build an amazing family this coming year! Here are 12 easy ways to help tweak, shift or find new ways to LOVE your family in 2014:
1) Ask questions before assuming. “What does this mean to you?” or “How can I help?” before jumping in will change everything.
2) Listen completely. Practice echoing what you heard to make sure you have the correct idea before responding. Let their words sink in and put yourself in their shoes for 5 full seconds.
3) Talk about money. Up for discussion -saving, spending, budgets, allowances, and donating are all great topics for children 6 years old and up.
4) Learn each child’s developmental abilities. This helps you stay informed about choosing to discipline, how to communicate, and how to give really great gifts that they’ll love!
5) Make a tradition. In our home, we watch Survivor and have chocolate chip cookies with it. We’ve done this for years and have talked about teamwork, ethical issues, faith, integrity, friendship and love. We’ve also compiled some great cookie recipes!
6) Set a bedtime. Whether they are toddlers or teens, everyone needs to know when it’s “lights out.” This creates continuity and routine that helps children of all ages feel safe.
7) Amp up responsibilities. What can each child do to contribute to the family? Don’t be wary of asking for help – everyone can contribute to the home (and needs to!).
8) Share your stories. What was life like when you grew up? Or better yet, share the positive family stories you were told from grandparents. Don’t underestimate the power of legacy and story in creating a family bond.
9) Show up for school events (especially honor roll ceremonies, etc.) . I noticed that by 8th and 9th grade, parents were reluctant to leave work because they didn’t think it “mattered” to their kids. I assure you, it does.
10) Forego blame. No pointing fingers at others this year! Talk through what’s needed, where the failures occurred, or ask questions rather than point fingers. Um.. I meant you mom and dad (this will then teach by example). I know, you can hate me a little for that one….
11) Apologize well and often. Apologies are the bridges in connection when things feel “off”. This goes in tandem with #10. These two alone will change any family life within 30 days.
Don’t underestimate the simplicity of this list. Our children are looking for our engagement and leadership! One of these each month will help create things they can count on, open lines of communication, help clarify expectations…..
in short – it will show love.