EVERYDAY HOME  | 12.20.16  |  by Gia Dolney

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

As we step into the New Year, it’s time for goal setting.  Whether you’re into making a goal list or just aspiring to a few things, the one challenge for moms (and dads) is how to find time for it all.  More family time is usually at the top of the list, especially for working parents.  Here are a few tips that might help — a lot of it is about using the double-duty approach.

 Read on for how you can easily create more family time  

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Use the Kitchen as a Gathering Place

One of the most natural gathering places for a family is the kitchen.  It’s where you can create beautiful memories with mom and dad … and good food!  If you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table, enlist the whole family with tasks to do — you’ll get dinner done faster, teach new skills, and have easy conversations about how the day went.  It’s an easy way to create family time on the fly.

For snack time, we love Junior League’s Kids in the Kitchen snack recipes.  So easy.  Why make the snacks by yourself when you can have 5-10 minutes of quality time with your child helping you.

An easy and healthy snack you can make together is this Fruit, Yogurt, & Granola Parfait from the Junior League of Dallas.

Dessert time is another opportunity to make time for each other.  You could whip up together a quick treat with PillsburyPurely Simple baking and frosting mixes, like these Just Nine Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Allow some homework time while it’s baking.  And then sit together and chat over the dessert later.

Set Aside a Family Night

Another way to make time for your family is to make it a weekly habit.  Set aside every Monday night, for example, as a family night.  Avoid scheduling other activities for that evening and dedicate it to doing activities together.

These nights can be as simple and inexpensive.  Ideas include playing board games, taking a walk to the park together to play basketball, or even just hot cocoa and a puzzle.  Lots of ideas can be found on Pinterest.

Create Traditions That Last

Another more long-term idea is to create traditions that are part of your family.  Ultimately these repeating traditions develop a love of spending time together.  And as your children age, they will set aside time to be together because of their love for these traditions.

Many traditions are created around holidays — such as special meals for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Valentine’s Day is a fun day to create a pancake breakfast tradition.

Religious observances also provide opportunity for family traditions, as well as going to church with each other every week.

Maybe your family has a love of sports.  You can pick a team to follow — could be a high school team or professional team.  Another idea is that once a month your family goes to the soup kitchen together to give service.  Or reading to your child each night — check out our bedtime story recommendations here.

Whatever traditions you choose, they become traditions because you repeat them year after year and enjoy doing them together (hopefully!).  You can also ask your children for ideas.  What do they think are the traditions your family is developing?

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