In the busyness of spring, we clean our homes, do yard work, and take care of little fix-it jobs. But, let's not neglect the reason we have a home in the first place. Our family relationships can get worn down and out of shape, especially after a long, dreary winter. Take some steps to refresh your relationships and renew life back into your family!
1. Take time to reflect. Think carefully about each member of your family. How have they changed in the past few months? When is the last time you spent one-on-one time with that person? If you like to journal, write down some thoughts under each name. You might include details like, "She's growing out of her blue jeans," or " I love how independently he does his homework." Any sort of insight you can put into words will help you understand how to better connect with your family members. While you're at it, write your name down and reflect on ways you can refresh your own attitude. Do you need time to read a good book? Or have you been wanting to take the whole family out for pizza? A little reflection can go a long way.
2. Do the easy cleaning first. When you're cleaning your house, it makes sense to pick up the old newspapers and scattered toys from the living room floor before you haul out the carpet shampooer and begin a major carpet-cleaning project. Following the same principle with your family, as it makes sense to begin refreshing your relationships with small steps. Make a favorite meal and surprise everyone with candles and your best dishes. Stick a special note in your child's lunch bag. Pull out a board game you haven't played in awhile. Invite one of your children to walk the dog with you. Thank your spouse for faithfully going to work everyday. There are so many simple ways to show your appreciation for a person.
3. Plan a special time together. Think about what you can do with each family member individually, and then consider what the whole family can do together. This time go the extra mile to do something you've never done before. The individual special times might include ice-cream cones at a park or a shopping trip to a fancy boutique. Your plans don't have to be expensive; work on making fun memories. Does your entire family need a vacation, but you can't afford one right now? Look around for local attractions. There may be a museum or hidden gem you didn't know about right in your neck of the woods!
4. Keep connecting! Don't stop caring for and loving your family members. Relationships are high-maintenance. They thrive under constant attention and lose their luster when you neglect them. You can't think of new things to do all the time, but you can keep in touch. Make a point to talk to each family member. This includes talk at the dinner table, when everyone is around. Table talk is important for making everyone feel like they belong. Enforce a no cell phone rule during the dinner hour.
5. Don't forget self-care. If you are emotionally broken, physically sore, or just plain exhausted, you can't take care of your family as well as you should. Take care of your own needs to equip yourself for taking care of others. Do you need a doctor appointment to check out that worrisome symptom? Could you benefit from an afternoon alone? What would help you get some more sleep? Think about yourself, and ask for help or assistance, if you need it.
Is your family ready for a spring-cleaning? Start refreshing yourself and your loved ones today. Good relationships are worth the effort to maintain.