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Family, Work & Play… Keep It All In Balance

FamilyForestFall is such an exciting time of the year. So many activities start up again, or start anew: new schools, new teams, new clubs and activities. It’s also the time of year when we get together with friends we may not have seen over the summer, fall barbecues and corn roasts, soccer playoffs, and hockey practices!

During this special, and beautiful time of the year, it’s good to plan some time for family, friends, and yourself that is either unscheduled, or at least, out of the ordinary.

Outdoor Hiking –  a perfect time for a hike along one of the many trails right in Toronto. No one has to travel far to find a place where they can enjoy the beauty of the season.

Farmers Markets – local markets are still brimming with produce as well as items for fall decoration.

Pajama day! (or half day) – Select a weekend day where everyone just stays cozy and comfortable around the house, watching a movie, making a meal together, and enjoying unscheduled time.

Impromptu pot luck – Invite family and friends over and have everyone bring an appetizer, main or dessert. If you want, pick a fun theme.

Planned Activity Free Night – It’s usually not the quantity of time that matters, but the quality of the time you spend together. Facing a busy week with multiple activities? Pick an evening that you know is free and announce it is pizza night. Order in, let the kids pick the movie, and put the cell phones on mute.

Take time to Listen – It is often easier to do when you are able to sit down and eat together. Then instead of asking, “how was your day”, ask a question your child is more likely to answer with an explanation, for example “what was the most fun thing you learned today?” or “What was the silliest thing you learned?”

Be spontaneous – Rather than announcing ahead of time what is going to happen the next day, or next weekend, make it a surprise. My father used to randomly announce, “Let’s go for ice cream!” Those are some of the occasions I remember best!

Remember to Breathe – Having one of those days? Take 10 deep, slow breathes, give your kids a big hug, and sit for a moment before you move on to the next activity. Sometimes, you just have to be late, or miss something, or accept that it’s not possible to do it all. Ask yourself, in 5 years, will this make a difference? Usually not!