By Rudy Seals, Family Support Specialist, New Horizons STAR Program

As parents, sometimes we get so caught up in all of our many responsibilities, we forget to spend important quality time with our kids.

You can make a choice today to change the dynamics of your family for the better. Read these tips to help you create lasting connections and build a better relationship with your kids.

The second week in January, I realized it was time to take down my Christmas decorations. Yes, I am a procrastinator. Once I got the tree down and packed away, I realized I had this awkward “hole” in my living room.

My son and I had moved a few things to accommodate that decoration, and now I was unsure whether to put it back like before or change things up a bit.

I’ve had a chair in another room that I love. It was by a large window as my reading chair. It looked great where it was, but I have to admit, I hardly used it. I wanted to use this chair more and thought, perhaps, it could go in this living room void.

When I set it up, the room looked weird at first. I sat down in its new home and asked myself, “Can I even really see the TV?”

What’s really important here?

Then, I thought about the Andy Griffith show.

On the Andy Griffith Show (which aired in the 60s), the living room set had furniture that faced one another. Yes, when you sat down in the living room, you were looking at each other!

My entire childhood and since I’ve been a parent, we made sure furniture faced the television. But the arrangement on the set of the Andy Griffith Show was designed for conversation more than entertainment.

So, I decided to turn my favorite chair more toward the couch. Weird, right?

My son thought so as well. He asked me, “What’s that for?” I explained to him that when one of us sits here, it’s so we can spend time together. It took some time, but this has now become his favorite chair.

Sometimes we can make a small change that creates a big difference in connecting with our kids.

There are simple things we can do. We can eat dinner at the table together.

If your home looks anything like mine, many times my dining table looks more like a desk with mail and clutter. Clear it off, cook together (another great thing to do with your child), and sit down for a meal. It may surprise you how quickly they adapt to this new reality.

There are so many simple things we can do to connect with one another.

Try some of these:

  • Board game nights
  • Sitting in the backyard at dusk
  • Conversations in the kitchen
  • Sharing music in the home
  • Share a hobby (even if you’re not good at it)

Getting our kids (and ourselves) to put down the phone, turn off the games, and share time together is not always easy.

It takes an intentional effort and time away from other activities you may feel are important. However, it can be very rewarding when we know more about what is going on in our kids’ lives and more connected as a family.

Need some more practical ideas for your family to spend time together? If you are interested in free counseling for your child and family, we offer services in select Texas counties.

Find out more about our STAR Program here



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