Busy.  We’re all busy.

I used to have this image of family life that was slow and relaxed . . . anything but busy.  But now I am not so sure that it is truly possible.  Maybe it is the kids’ ages.  Maybe it is my responsibilies.  Maybe it is the world we live in.

It is easy to get wrapped up in all our commitments, activities and running the life of a growing family.  I don’t know about you, but I can feel weighted down by everything there is to get done.  And sometimes in the midst of all the busyness, I can miss connecting with my kids.  Being more deliberate about finding fun and simple things to do breaks the busyness of our family life.  These things allow us to connect, grow and have fun.

Breaking up busy is about finding the fun, making the moment a time of connecting with your child, and creating memories!

It is in these moments that I can feel less busy.  I can pause the sand in the hourglass and hear the laughs, see the smiles and touch the hearts of my children. 

I have put together a list of activities that have worked for my family.  These are things that break busy and squeeze in special moments.  One word of advice:  Do NOT try to do them all.  Pick one and start there.  See how you feel in the moment.  Watch how your kids respond.  My hope is that you’ll capture a precious few moments with your kids that break up your busy and create lasting memories.

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10 Simple & Fun Ways to Break up Busy for Your Family

1. Write in a Journal Together.

We call ours a Dialogue Journal (a la my daughter’s 2nd grade teacher).  One of my elementary school teachers called it a “Me Book.”  Whatever you decide to call yours, corresponding with your child in a journal can be so much fun (and something that is easy to hold on to for years to come).

In our journals, I wrote a prompt/question on each page for my kids to answer.  Once answered, I write back responding to their journal entry and sharing my answer to the prompt as well.  I used these journal prompts from Journal Buddies.

The Benefits:

  • Learning more about your child (from interests to thought processes).
  • Encourages your child to open up.
  • Gets your child writing!
  • Your child can learn little unknown things about you as well.
  • Builds your relationship as you share answers and thoughts with each other.

2. Listen to an Audio Book in the Car.

Go on imaginary adventures together by simply by listening to an audio book while you drive around town.  This one only takes a trip to your library and will provide hours of fun for your family.

My family has enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia most of all.  We have been thrilled by the adventures of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.  We fell in love with the lion, Aslan.  We were saddened when Peter and Susan were no longer allowed into Narnia, only to be repeated when Edmund and Lucy became too old.  We were annoyed by Eustice, but ecstatic when his character began to transform.  We talked through scenarios.  We dreamed about what we wanted to happen.

It was an escape . . . together.  Every trip in the car, even 10 minute errands became a clamoring for the next bit of our story.

The Benefits:

  • Sharing an adventure together (and shared experiences form bonds).
  • Allows you and your children to develop critical thinking skills as you try to figure out what will happen next or how the story will end.
  • Exposes your family to various works of literature.
  • Requires no extra time in your day, but utilizes the time you are already in the car.

3. Learn Something Together.

A month ago, my kids and I had the opportunity to hear a NASA engineer and an astronaut speak at a local event.  It was fascinating.  The three of us enjoyed learning all about Curiosity, a Mars rover and the incredible feat of landing on the planet.

Whether you are learning facts or a skill, I have found when I can share in a journey of learning with my kids, it makes the moment so valuable and FUN.  Ask your kids what they would like to learn about?  My son wants to learn to draw.  My daughter wants to learn about geology and to bake, sew, tie knots and more.  Clearly, I have more to tackle with my daughter.  🙂

What would happen if you sat down with your children and took 30 minutes to learn something with them?  Here is what would happen >>

The Benefits:

  • Models and promotes a lifelong love of learning.
  • Allows you and your children to share in the learning process together.
  • Gives your child a special time with you.
  • Creates natural opportunites to experience failure, grow and learn to persevere.

4. Pause to Play a Game.

There are times when things are busy, the kids seem to be at each other and the “to do” list is long.  It is time to stop everything and play a game together.  The kids need to see Mom break from the busyness and take a moment to connect and have fun.

The Benefits:

  • Serves as recreation for the whole family.
  • Puts Mom at the kids’ level of play – something special for the kids.
  • Creates opportunities to win and lose, encourage others and handle disappointment.

5. Stop for a Spontaneous Quick Treat.

Even on those days when things have been crazy, pure delight is created when I tell the kids that we are stopping for a quick treat.  It is painless and it is usually inexpensive.  My favorites are $1 ice cream cones or Frosty’s!

The Benefits:

  • Breaks up the busy with something fun and unexpected.
  • Creates joy and memories!
  • Allows you to feel the fun with your children.
  • Can be combined with your busyness of running here and there.

6. Read Aloud with Your Kids.

Sometimes on a busy day, I feel like we are all running in different directions.  But there is an amazing feeling of pushing the pause button and taking 15 minutes to read together.  I cozy up on the couch.  My daughter snuggles with the dog and my son grabs his drawing book and lays on the floor drawing and listening to our story.

Now I must be honest, there are many times when we can’t stop at 15 minutes.  There certainly have been those evenings when my voice has become hoarse from reading for an hour to an hour and a half with my kids.  But it is so much fun as a mom to hear your kids (especially at upper elementary ages) clammor for you to keep going.

Our latest read alouds have been:  Greenglass House, Book Scavenger and currently, Wonderland.

The Benefits:

  • Models and promotes a love of reading.
  • Like the audio books, allows for critical thinking and fun as you and your kids try to figure out what is going to happen.
  • Creates great memories of relaxed time with YOU!

7. Go an Adventure.

Whether it is a family hike, a bike ride or a trip to a cornmaze, find something active you can do as a family.  Maybe you can eat dinner at a park or find a geocache.  Look for something in your area that you have been wanting to try and do it.  I have been more deliberate about finding the fun things in our area to do and we have had so much fun.  Honestly, I find such fulfillment in taking the kids to do these kinds of things.

The Benefits:

  • Promotes family bonding.
  • Creates memories.

8. Watch Silly Videos.

Whether you have a few minutes or half an hour, there are a million funny and entertaining videos out there on YouTube.  My kids love funny animal clips, blooper reals and Zach King‘s magic videos.  One of our favorite channels as a family is Good Mythical Morning with Rhett and Link.  Some go a little too far for my preference, but their “Will It _(taco, s’more, milkshake, etc___?” are funny.  My favorite video is their Spicy Pepper Challenge.  Our family feels like we have gotten to know Rhett and Link through their show and enjoy checking out their latest content.

The Benefits:

  • Creates opportunities to laugh and have fun together, breaking up the busy and a fast-paced family life.
  • Has the potential to create a “family thing” where you regularly follow a channel.

9. Share in a Devotional Time Together.

One thing the kids and I have developed a habit of doing before school is sharing in a devotional together.  Now granted, there are opportunities all the time to talk about the Lord, faith and spiritual matters, but this formal time is foundational to growing their faith.  We have worked through The Lord’s Prayer, The Dig for Kids – Proverbs, The Dig for Kids – James and are currently working through Long Story Short and Jesus Calling for Kids (this one is good for supplemental but I wouldn’t use it alone.)

The Benefits:

  • Teaches your children about faith.
  • Models the importance of a relationship with Jesus and knowing His Word.
  • Provides opportunities to discuss a variety of topics from a Christian worldview.
  • Establishes habits of carving out daily devotional time.

10. Serve Together.

Some of my favorite times as a family are when we are doing something to help others.  It allows us to think beyond ourselves and take action.

Whether you are writing notes of encouragement, visiting someone, giving to the needs of a familly or helping to tear down tables after an event, serving together puts a busy life in perspective.

The Benefits:

  • Teaches the value of helping others.
  • Promotes selflessness.
  • Bonds your family as you serve together.
  • Can expose your children to others in need.

So there you have it, my friends.  Ten ideas to help you break up busy and savor the moments with your family.  Which will you choose to start today?  It is more than worth it!

Until next time,

Kristen

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