Your family is a corporation—you are the CEO. Have a family meeting this month. Everyone participates. Kids want to feel like they have input in the family’s decision-making. Make sure the family “officers” feel like they are being heard and acknowledged. Spend an hour or two making long-range goals and planning for the year ahead, it will save you major time in the days to come.
Get your calendar and set some priorities; then share ideas on trips, vacations, family activities and outings. A family organizer like Cozi.com is a great resource, or you can just buy a fun calendar at the discount store. Take time to review family rules and values. Use paper or poster board to write these down. Try prioritizing your days into the following: activities, attitudes and atmosphere.
As the years pass, you can use these meetings to focus on the family’s biggest successes of the past year and progress made on long-term goals. Take a vote on vacation locations, scheduled activities, meals and large purchases. Come up with personal, financial and family goals for 2017. Put the lists up on the fridge, bathroom mirror, or family bulletin board for the first month, then in a safe place for next year’s meeting. You may want to refer to these documents throughout the year.
If you want to spend less time in front of the TV, plan one night per month as family game night, or sports night. Find a new show or video to watch and make a snack together to enjoy while watching.
Determine that you will see something new inside the state of Kansas. Most of these trips of discovery will take less than one day and you’ll be surprised how fun our state can be!
Sit down together as a family for a meal once a week, or once a month. Try cooking together, or cook ahead on the weekends. Buy five pounds of hamburger when it’s on sale (or turkey, chicken, pork) and shape two pounds into meatballs and patties, and freeze. The rest can be browned for taco meat and Italian meat sauce. Cook and allow to cool and bag or box for the freezer. Then on weeknights, add veggies, a salad and starch, and you’ll have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less! Branch out with casseroles and crock pot dishes, divided into meal-sized portions. Frozen chicken breasts and thighs are also well-suited for make-ahead meals.
Start a kindness initiative—give a monthly award for the family member who modeled this important value.
Make a Joy Jar (smile jar, blessing jar, gratitude jar, memories jar). Use a plain mason jar (or larger, if you have a big family), add ribbons, fabric or other decorations, and place in a central location in your home. Make sure note paper and pens or pencils are close by. Write down funny stories, accomplished goals and good memories all year; then on New Year’s Eve, open the jar and read the cards aloud.
Make your living or family room cozy for the long winter months, without spending big bucks. Let the family vote on a theme color(s), and then bring together blankets, pillows and artwork from around the house. New pictures can be drawn or painted by the kids and put in unused frames. Spread blankets or throws on chairs and couches. Use old t-shirts as slipcovers for pillows. Add a basket with decks of playing cards, board games and jigsaw puzzles. Now you’re ready to spend time indoors.
Plan ahead to make 2017 fun and meaningful for your whole family. When everyone has a say, they all feel valued.
Written by Carol Martin, member of Rainbows’ Finance Team