Oklahoma City family fun happens through it all.
Today is the first day of fall. It's the season of football and casseroles, pumpkin patches and slow-cooker recipes.
We know what we're doing every day this season. The calendar is full and my family is in motion. Our back-to-school routine is set up and we know what we're doing from now through each day until the end of the year.
I wrote recently about eight can't-miss fall traditions, activities that we're looking forward to before the holidays get started.
Fall will roll into winter before we know, as daylight savings time adds a literal element to "The days are long but the years are short."
We're so busy doing it all: after-school activities, school and life commitments, that I want to be sure we're getting in what matters. My sons won't remember laundry or chores or even a lot of what keeps us running now. I do hope they'll remember the traditions as quality time, though.
Here are three ways to slow down and create more family time this season:
- Schedule a black-out date: Choose one day on the calendar and refuse to commit to anything else that day than staying home with family. Toss all distracting electronics in a kitchen drawer where the flash of a screen can't interrupt. I may or may not have substituted that kitchen drawer with our mailbox on a Sunday because the devices were too tempting. Extra mom points for problem-solving as you help your family disconnect.
- Make dinner together: No matter how busy you are, your family still has to eat. Choose a recipe than can simmer all day and give each child a job to create it. My sons are usually in charge of soup ingredients, for example. Sam, age 9, can chop vegetables now, Isaac, age 4, likes to help put everything in the soup pot and our baby, 21 months, helps me stir. It's all supervised and takes a little more time but having that time together also gives them a way to see that food takes effort to prepare. They're also more likely to eat it too. Find more tips on cooking with kids here.
- Talk it out: Ask your kids what they wish your family would do more often. I was expecting something elaborate (read expensive) when I asked my sons last week what they wish we did more of during fall. The answer was actually really simple: carve pumpkins more than once. We can do that. An extra Saturday afternoon with jack o'lanterns is well within the realm of possibility. We do so much talking, yelling, nagging, asking and pleading as parents; remembering to really listen feels more difficult but really doesn't take any more time. You can always find fun family activities on MetroFamily's calendar if you're looking for something to go and do together.
I have to go back to being busy now but if you have other tips to share, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.