Gifts are tokens of our love and rarely have the lasting effect that time together sears within one’s emotional mequality timemory. Spending quality family time with each child, spouse, parent or friend gives the message that they are uniquely valued, tremendously loved and that they hold a very special place in your heart.
How can you do this with your busy and hectic schedule? Stop what you’re doing and plan now. Call a family meeting and let them know of your gift – that this holiday season you want to give them best expression of love you can think of – the Gift of Quality Time!
Invite them to assist you by doing some things that you normally do by yourself (such as meal planning and preparation, gift buying, decorating, and cleaning (gotta make this sound fun – I call them projects. i.e. Let’s wash the windows – you do the outside and I’ll clean the inside, and after we’re done we’ll get lunch together; just the two of us!).
Other suggestions … make dinner together, have a tea party, go to the beach, watch the sunset, volunteer at a soup kitchen, take the dog for a walk, make a gift for someone, plan a movie night for the family, bring out old photos and reminisce, exercise together, and so much more.
Invite them to think of things they would like to do with you.
- The focus of Time Together is just about that, Time … not $$$.
- Look realistically at how much time you can allot for each person. Some individuals thrive on one-on-one time (it’s his/her love language) and may desire an afternoon together, while others are happy doing a project together like making dessert with you.
- What do you talk about? For some it’s uncomfortable getting the conversation going. Consider letting go of the “parental” or the “responsible spouse” role during this time. Consciously tune in to your child/spouse in a fresh new way. Be with them as you would a new friend (desire to make a good impression). Be open to listen and learn. No judging, no criticism, no lectures. Great opportunity to let them know how very precious they are and what you love about them. Share with them what you were like when you were their age, what your hobbies and interests were, some of your fond memories of them, etc.
Prioritize time also for yourself. Take your much needed breaks even if they are in 15 minute increments. You will be able to give more lovingly of yourself as you take care of your own needs.
The most rewarding relationships are those that allow you to let your guard down, reach out, and love one another. May the New Year be filled with harmony that comes from building Relationships For Life!