This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. As the kids have grown, it has been harder and harder to carve out those moments where we are all together at the same time without any distractions.
School is great - but it takes up huge amounts of time
Sports are so healthy and good for the kids - but with practices and games they take up huge amounts of time
Music/Orchestras/Private Lessons - the kids love them and have so much fun, but again the time commitment (especially when multiplied by 4) is also astronomical.
I love that my kids are so involved with things that are healthy and that they love. I love that they have friends and like to bring them over to hang out and play. All that I love, cherish, embrace and am grateful for.
BUT...it means that we are going in many different directions and are going there fast. We have to be on time - sometimes driving back and forth across the city several times in one afternoon. We briefly touch base (and not with all of them) at dinner before homework. Some of them have sports practice or music practice that takes them away during the dinner hour. How did it get this way? When they were little, I vowed that the dinner hour would be sacred and we would have dinner together EVERY night without fail. Great idea, but it doesn't work right now.
Then there is all the screen time - computer (for homework only during the week), TV (ditto to the computer), phones, DSs, iPads(only the 9th grader has one and she got it from the school-ARRGH!)
Family Time - I have made a commitment to having more screen free family time this year. This is my only New Year's resolution and I am working hard toward it.
To that end, we got away to Monterey over the New Year. This kids were not allowed to bring any electronics with them - not even their phones. My husband and I brought our phones for emergencies, but stayed off of them.
Instead, we went hiking as a family.
We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and because there was no texting, the kids got truly involved with their surrounding and other things that were going on. The questions they asked of the docents were amazing and the way the kids interacted with each other was great.
We played games every morning before breakfast. We had to learn how to modify SkipBo to accommodate 7 players!
The oldest truly appreciated her surroundings and took time to enjoy them instead of "report" them. It was nice just walking next to her and having some great conversations.
Learned new things from siblings.
Acted crazy, dancing and singing to ring in the New Year - all together, focusing on our family.
We enjoyed street music.
We enjoyed crafts and drawing and writing.
More games. We played games everyday. We read out loud to each other every day.
Breakfast out - we all played word games and guessing games while waiting for our food to be delivered.
More hiking and exploring.
And more hiking and family time.
Since the first of the year, we have gotten out hiking, played more games, and spent more time reading to each other. Just spending more time together.
I am sharing over at 5minutesformom. We are sharing things that we are working on and organizing. Family Time - that's what I am working on - meaningful interactions, less distractions. This will be our theme for the year.