By Nikki Taylor, RECE
Senior Manager, Early Years and Family Support
Oakville Parent-Child Centre
Once upon a time there were 52 “family days” in a year.
Imagine…..children, parents, grandparents, friends and family gathered together to share food, play and enjoy each other’s company. There were no agendas, few distractions, no particular place to go, and people were together.
Some of you may remember these days. They were known as Sundays. Yes, for those of you much younger than me; let me explain. Sunday was a day when stores and businesses were closed; many people did not work; technology was just in sci-fi movies; and for that one day – every week the world slowed enough to allow a focus on family and friends. We created memories, relationships and traditions that became the glue that held us all together. One of my favorite memories of Sundays is the long drives we took with no particular destination. They were always an adventure in the making.
Fast forward and I must say, I find it a bit ironic that we now have a declared a holiday devoted to the most important thing we can do – spend quality, connected time with our loved ones. On the usually frosty February Family Day, we slow down and we give ourselves permission to tune in, focus, put the distractions away – and have a little fun together.
If you think about it, couldn’t every day be a little more like Family Day?
Here are a few simple things that you could try to keep that family day feeling going
- Slow down (even just a little). Carl Honore, Canadian journalist and author of In Praise of Slow (Vintage Canada 2009), speaks persuasively in his TED talk In Praise of Slowness
- Share a family meal together as often as you can: Need to know why? Check out the Family Dinner Project for recipes, conversation starters and for you information junkies, lots of research on the benefits.
- Believe in the power of relationships. You are your children’s first and most important teacher. Check out Halton’s very own Family Relationships Matter video featuring local families.
- The family that plays together stays together. This Psychology Today article by Peter Gray, research professor and author of Free to Learn (Basic Books, 2013), offers 5 important ways to know if it is really play.
- Connection is the key. Check out this Zero to Five commentary and learn more about the connect before you direct approach and invite more connection and cooperation from your children.
- Empathy goes a long way to bringing us closer to children and adults alike. Brene Brown is a researcher, professor and speaker on topics such as vulnerability, courage, and authenticity. Check out her video for some humorous insight.
- Love and parent with authenticity and a soft heart. Learn more from Brene Brown’s Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto.
Your children are miracles, gifted to you for a very short time. Enjoy them, learn from them and hold them dear. Trust and believe in yourselves and each other. You are truly all your children need.
My challenge to you – create as many “family days” in 2018 as you can. What will your “once upon a time” stories be?