As a busy working parent, do you feel like you are constantly stretched between your work and family life? Does it also seem impossible to have quality family time?
According to Beverly Anderson, executive director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa, “The key to being able to maximize your family time is to get organized, function as a team, be present, and realize what matters.”
Anderson recommends that, when it comes to getting organized, you look carefully at your family’s schedule and budget.
Are there activities that you really don’t need to be doing? Are there ways to simplify what does need to be done? And, does your budget allow you to hire help for jobs you don’t like doing such as cleaning the house, doing yard work, grocery shopping, cooking, or running errands? If not, how can you do these tasks more efficiently?
“Families that function most efficiently have some sort of a schedule,” says Anderson. “For example, they might always do laundry on Sundays and Wednesdays, grocery shop on Mondays, and clean on Thursdays. This helps them stay on task and keep organized. It also allows them to plan for quality family time.”
Function as a Team
Anderson adds that spending quality time as a family can occur when you are working together on household tasks.
For example, when it comes to dinner time, you and your spouse can cook the actual meal together and your children can help with prepping the vegetables and setting and clearing the table, so everyone has a role in the process.
Likewise, when it comes to laundry, if all family members put away their own laundry when it comes out the dryer, the process isn’t as overwhelming for one person, and everyone gets the sense that they are part of a team.
“Household tasks can provide wonderful opportunities for your family to reconnect while helping one another,” says Anderson.
When you get home after a busy work day, make a pledge to yourself to shut down your electronic devices and just be present with your children until they go to bed. After they are tucked in, you can address any work emails, go on social media and take time to do other household tasks.
Also, try to schedule quality family time into your evening. This could be as simple as playing a game after dinner when the kitchen is cleaned up or having family story time on the couch before bed. These little moments, in the long run, will have a big impact on your children.
Realize What Matters
Your children will only be little for a short time. By trying to live simply while they are small, you can reduce stress and enjoy more time with them.
Anderson suggests that you try to designate Saturday mornings to visit your library, Sundays for family fun and or fitness time, and Fridays for game or movie nights and to simply have fun together.
“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have quality family time together, and these are the memories you and your children will cherish for a lifetime.”
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.