There are a variety of things that you can do with your family even if you are working on a limited budget and/or limited time. The following are juts a few ideas. Send in the ways that you spend time with your family and I will share them in a future post.
*Movie night. My daughter is just over two and we don´t allow her to watch much television, but we recently tried out movie night. I got a cartoon type movie that was half an hour long. We made hot chocolate, snuggled under the blanket, my husband lit a fire and we spent half an hour watching the movie together. It was so great to hear my daughter laugh out loud, and we got to talk about the movie afterwards and the next morning over breakfast.
*Make dinner or bake together. Our big night is pizza night. My daughter spreads the sauce, sprinkles the cheese, and rations out the pepperoni, carefully avoiding her two slices. Other ideas: spaghetti, cookies with icing, hot fudge sundaes. Kids love to cook, and it is so great to watch them help out in the kitchen.
*Game night. I got this idea from a friend of mine that has an older daughter. They instituted game night every Wednesday. As a single mother, my friend didn´t get to spend much time with her daughter. But during game night they had a chance to sit down together, have some fun, and reconnect. Now that my girlfriend is engaged, she´s invited her fiancé to join them. They each take turns picking out which games they will play, and the games range from cards to board games.
*Breakfast on the weekend. Weekdays are busy in most households where both parents work, and especially in homes with single mothers, but on the weekends there is a little more time for the family to reconnect. Make one day each weekend breakfast morning and go out someplace or make pancakes and bacon at home. We have a little café that we love that serves the best muffins and coffee in town; my two year old even knows it by name, and if we say that we are going there, she says, "I want a muffin." Some morning we stay in and make pancakes. While the rest of the day may be filled with yard work, house cleaning, and grocery shopping, the hour that we hang out together over breakfast is special for all of us.
*Read together. Once upon a time I heard this great parenting tip: Read together every night from the time the baby is born until she or he leaves for college. In the beginning, read storybooks together. Eventually your child will learn to read, and then you can turn reading time into silent reading time with the family. Everyone has to read during this time. You are in the same room but reading your own books, and after a half hour of reading time you shut the books and talk about your stories, sharing the plot, ideas, and the good and bad of the books. I think it is such a great idea. Children will do what we do. What a great way to spend an hour together each day!