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OPINION: Making Time For Your Kids

Do what’s important, then do the rest.

Another school year is underway and for many this marks the beginning of a sleep deprived, high stress, high pressure, hyperactive lifestyle. From sun up to sun down, it’s go go go with little opportunity for quality time with the kids. Between making meals, doing laundry, carpooling, helping with homework, cleaning the house, bath time and bed time (for many two jobs are added to the mix), most parents are beyond the breaking point. In many homes where over scheduled parents and children are running on empty, patience is a rare commodity. 

Calendars are not big enough to house all of the family activities and, as a result, quality time is often a long forgotten art. 

School and sports have just gotten underway in Marlborough so now is the time to reconfigure the family schedule and reconsider both your obligations as well as those of your children. When you feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day perhaps it is time to prioritize - putting children at the top of the list. 

A good place to start is to limit kids’ activities. Teach your children to make choices by allowing them just one after school activity. It is important to realize that while extracurricular activities give children a sense of what they can do, it is family time that gives them a sense of who they are.

Not only is it important to limit the children, but it is important to limit yourself as well. After all,  you can't "be there" for the kids when you're not around. 

Family meals are wonderful ways to reconnect with your children and catch up on the activities of the day. It is these connections that make your children feel loved. As a way of freeing up time, it is a great idea to cook double to save time and trouble. Serve one meal for dinner and put the other into the freezer for another day. During meals, turn off the television. 

Spending quality time with your children is extremely important for their development and happiness. This can mean spending time together working on homework, cooking dinner or doing the dishes. Just about any activity can be utilized to talk and share. 

Parents must give themselves permission to relax and play. Time spent with your children is a precious commodity and should be viewed as a treasure. It is not a crime to leave the mess for later or to allow the laundry to go unwashed for a day. Of all the tasks you spend time on every day, making time for your children can be the most meaningful. By investing in your children you let them know that you value your time with them as much as you do your friends, work and   other commitments.

Before the craziness of school and sports robs your family of the most precious commodity - time together - consider cutting back on commitments and put family first. At the same time, don’t be afraid to put off household chores ... they will be there when you come back to them later. Do what’s important, then do the rest.

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