Family Time: Mixing Work and Play
OK. So based on the title of this blog, clearly we’re busy. We’re parents and workers and family members and we have our own interests to pursue. We have bills to pay, houses to clean, food to make, and a laundry list of other things that we need to do in order to keep of family organized and running smoothly. All these things however, cut into the most important time we have, family time.
As I see it, we have 2 options here: do some of these things as a family, or let some of them slide. Only some. Admittedly, there are certain things that we can’t let slide and aren’t appropriate family time activities. Like paying bills. I have yet to find a useful way to include my toddler in that and it is definitely not something we can let slide. But a lot of our other tasks can be made into family activities.
Laundry, for example. In our house the break down is my husband loads the washer and dryer and T and do the folding and putting away. I always let T help me. Sometimes its actually helpful and sometimes its not, but we have fun either way. When I fold my husband’s and T’s t-shirts, T’s job is to identify the characters on the shirts. Sometimes he wears special laundry time attire for this job, i.e. one of my husbands shirts. Another T job is to sort out all the socks so that we can match them and roll them up. He thinks its a game. He gets to work on his matching skills and we get to have fun together, AND the laundry gets done! Win-Win-Win!!
Another family time activity can be putting toys away. T and I play different games depending on what we have to clean up. Sometimes we have races to see who can clean up the fastest. Sometimes we put all the toys of a certain color away first and then move on to a new color. Sometimes we let some toys help us put away other toys. For example, recently Sulley assisted us in putting away our puzzles when were done playing with them.
A few other family chores include setting the table and dusting. T is excellent at bringing dishes and utensils from the kitchen to the dining room table. He also loves to dust. If he sees you with a dusting cloth, we demands a wipe so he can clean as well. We like to have dusting races and see who can clean their half of the table first. We also test each other to see if we can remember how to put things back the way they were. As long as its a game, it doesn’t feel like doing chores!
Some things that slide: sweeping under furniture, sometimes the dishes, a full cleaning of the bathroom, definitely cleaning above windows and light fixtures. The thing is, I am OK with that. My house doesn’t need to look like a museum, we live there and it should look like it. I would rather sit on the floor and play Legos than make sure my sink is constantly empty. Being busy means you have to prioritize, and for me, my priority is having fun with my toddler before he’s not a toddler anymore.
Emily Bendler is a mom, wife, full-time insurance adjuster, professional dancer, dance teacher, graduate student, and founder of I Hope You Dance, Inc., a non-profit supporting youth dance. Read how Emily used her dance ambitions to become a time management maven. Feel free to send Emily a message using the email me tab above.