Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tips on How to Improve Family Relations and Family Time and How to Ensure Family Times Happen

I first wrote this post in my Multiply blog in 2009.  I simply made a list of things that would be helpful in improving family relationships and in ensuring that families have ample family times to make their family strong.  I've decided to repost this list and expound on them a bit here in my new Mommy blog since it's the beginning of another year and these tried and tested tips could make a big difference in many families.  It's also a reminder to me and my husband of what we need to do to make our family stronger.
Family members are getting busier and busier by the hour. So I made another list for our family to help us build strong family relationships and to help us achieve our goals as a family. You might want to adapt some of them if you think they would help your family also.

1. Make a family calendar of activities for the year. - I strongly believe that unless you calendar it, it would be difficult to make it happen.  Families are busier these days.  We can easily forget what we need to do or accomplish when we are thinking of so many things. It would be best to mark your calendars so that everyone in the family would be reminded.

2. Protect it from being crowded or bumped off by other activities. - I learned from Stephen Covey about scheduling our BIG ROCKS first.  These are the most important things and activities in your life and most of the time these involve the most significant people in your life as well.  So, I suggest that we all take stock of WHO are the most important people in ur lives and COMMIT to make time for them and plan meaningful activities with them.  In the many years that I had been conducting trainings and workshops, most of the time I hear people tell me that their families are their priorities.  It is sad though that a lot of them also admit (with great sadness and disappointment) that they are not able to prioritize them or spend enough quality time with them. Let's not make this mistake this year! :)

Photo source here.

3. Plan tasks and schedules in advance. - One of my strategies in not being overwhelmed with too many things to be finished is to work on my tasks bit by bit over a period.  That's what I want to recommend to all of you. Break down your big tasks or projects into phases and smaller tasks so that you will not feel overwhelmed in tackling them and to avoid cramming or panic when the deadline is fast approaching.

4. Remind each other. - Reminding each other would be easier if ALL family members would take note and commit to remember their family activities.  Having a family calendar also helps a lot. In this time and age of various gadgets, this should be much easier.  Let's harness the benefits that these gadgets bring into our lives by using them to build our relationships instead of destroying them.

5. Make a family countdown to big family events. - We make a big fuss about Chistmas and New Year and we usually have countdowns to these big events.  Why not do the same to our family activities? Don't we always hear people say that everyday should be Christmas day?  Let's do our share in making everyday just like Christmas day by giving love to our family members and making a big fuss as well on our family get-togethers!  Countdowns make people more excited about upcoming events.  They also remind us of what we need to do in preparation for these events.

6. Involve everyone as much as possible in the planning and preparation. - Let's admit it, most of the time, it is us, Moms, who take the lead in planning our family activities.  But let's not get tired of involving our husbands and kids.  We are not superwomen.  We are part of a team.  That team is our family.  Let's play as a team and pass the ball to our teammates. 

7. Book in advance (i.e. plane tickets, hotel reservations, movie or concert tickets, theater passes, etc.) - This strategy will save you a lot of money and time.  It will also help you seal your commitment to spend time with the most important people in your life.

8. Schedule family meetings. - Companies hold meetings.  Organizations hold meetings. Church groups hold meetings.  Why not hold family meetings as well?  A lot of times, concerns and family issues are prevented from becoming big problems by simply holding regular family meetings; for just like in other groups, communication is essential in keeping families together and united. So, don't wait for problems to happen!  Prevent problems from happening by meeting regularly as a family.

9. Plan goals for the year and per quarter. - I am such a planner! I love to plan.  I love to plan ahead. One of the reasons I love planning is that it helps me achieve more of my goals and dreams.  If having a happy family and stronger family relationships is one of your dreams and goals this year, I suggest that you take time to plan for them.  Goals and dreams don't just happen.  We need to work on them and in order for us to work smarter in achieving them, we need to take time to plan our actions and activities.

10. Schedule quarterly and annual reviews. - One of the most helpful ways to ensure that goals and dreams come true or are reached is by regularly checking our progress (or lack).  Just like what we are doing at the start of each year, we need to pause and check if we are moving closer to our desired destination.

11.  Include a lot of fun activities in the family calendar.  - They say that "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."  I say, "All business and no fun, makes Mom/Dad a dull wife/husband."  Let's make a list of things we love to do on our own and compare these with what our other family members like doing. It would be good to schedule fun activities every now and then that each family member would love to do with the rest of the family.  It doesn't have to be something that everyone wants to do all the time.  I suggest that the other family members try to indulge their other family members by doing something that they do not necessarily like doing but would like to try because of their love and commitment to their other family members.

12.  Make it a habit to pray for family goals and concerns. - Let's commit to the Lord all our plans and submit them to Him. We can make plans but let's be flexible enough to give God room to change our plans, trusting that He knows best.

There you have it!  12 Tips that you can start employing as early as today.  Choose which ones would be most helpful to you and your family and let me know how these things make a difference in your family life and relationships.
Cheers to a year filled with love and happy memories!

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