This week I’ve realized that as I’ve been working on these schedules and plans, I’ve been neglecting to live in the present.
I keep thinking “As soon as I just finish all these schedules, THEN I will be better.”
Unfortunately, we’re not guaranteed tomorrow. We’re only guaranteed the one moment we’re in right now.
SO I’m praying to find a better balance between working on the things that will help me tomorrow, and still giving my very best during every moment today.
I don’t want all this scheduling to become an idol in my life, instead of becoming a tool to help me be better (like I originally intended).
And this is my prayer for you too – that if you are also working on better scheduling and planinng your days, that you too can find balance, and determination to live your very best day today – even if you have no plan.
With Christ’s strength, we can do all things. ALL things. So chin up sisters. Keep your eyes looking up, and your heart in today, while we continue to work together on how we can be better every day.
All that being said, today is the third, and final part of the Essential Family Life Habits series. Today I’m going over the monthly, semi-annual, and annual activities to do with your family. Here they are:
Essential Life Habits for Your Family
- Eat dinner at your favorite restaurant – one night a month, have dinner out (and ice cream too) at your family’s favorite restaurant. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, but picking a regular place can be a fun tradition that your kids will look forward to every month.
- Date alone with each child – one day or night every other month, have Dad take one child on a date, while you take your other child out. If you have more than two kiddos, rotate who gets to go on the dates each month. Again, this doesn’t have to even cost money! Be creative with what you take your kiddos to do (something they personally enjoy), but remember that what they will love the most is just getting to spend quality alone time with you!!
- Date alone with each child and spouse – every other month (alternating with the dates alone) try to also take your kiddos on individual dates with both you and your spouse. This could also be a good opportunity for your other kiddo(s) to have a special day or sleepover with their grandparents, if they live close enough.
- Spend time with other family – if you have other family members living close to you (siblings, parents, grandparents, etc.), visit them once a month. You could get together for dinner or an afternoon just hanging out, but make it a priority! If your family does not live close enough for monthly visits, make time to travel to see each other as often as you can.
- Kids’ sleepover with grandparents – my girls love to have sleepovers with their grandparents. It’s fun and important for them, your parents, and you! Occasionally having a night with your kiddos away can really help to refresh everyone!
- Volunteer – once a month, try to find a kid-friendly way or place that you can volunteer as a family. Here are some seriously awesome websites that will help give you a starting point and lots of ideas:
- The Volunteer Family: http://www.thevolunteerfamily.org/
- Volunteer Match: http://www.volunteermatch.org/
- Big Hearted Families: http://www.bigheartedfamilies.org/
- Volunteer Guide: http://www.volunteerguide.org/
Semi-Annually & Annually
- Make Christ the focus of holidays – start by asking the question – why do we do what we do?? Are you following any holiday traditions simply because it’s what you’ve always done or because it’s just what our society does? Challenge yourself to research and think about why you follow the traditions you do, and whether or not you want to pass them on to your children. Be bold and create your own family traditions that make Christ the center of it all! I hope to someday blog much more about this topic, but for an awesome resource in the meantime, check out: “Creating Family Traditions” by Shirley Dobson – I highly recommend it!
- Give gifts to neighbors – this is an easy way to teach your kids to serve others. This year, the kids made bread and handmade cards at Easter, and fun baskets for May Day. They thought it was extremely fun to run the gifts to all our neighbors, and they got so excited when they saw everyone’s faces. One of the coolest parts was when one of our neighbors dropped off little thank you gifts and cards to the girls a few weeks later – they about peed their pants! 🙂
- Write thank you notes – I am honestly horrible, awful, terrible at this. I don’t know if it’s my short attention span or what for sure, but I just often neglect to write these important notes! There have been several times, in fact, where I’ve written almost all the notes, but by the time I get close to finishing them, I feel like it’s too late to mail them! Anyway, I know it’s important to thank people, and this is an old habit that I want to teach to my kids. I think next time we need to write the notes, I’m going to focus on keeping them simple, and sincere, and letting the kids do most of the work!
- Create regular family traditions – in addition to keeping Christ at the center of holidays, also work to create other non-holiday related family traditions that will create memories for your kiddos to remember when they are older. This can be as simple as having spaghetti for dinner every Friday, or reading books before bed every night. Think through the activities you already do as a family, decide which ones you could commit to do on a regular basis, and make a tradition out of them! Or, again, check out the “Creating Family Traditions” book for many other ideas.
- Go on a mission trip – once a year, try to do some bigger kind of serving/volunteering opportunity with your family. This could be overseas, or down the street…expensive, or free. For a super awesome resource, check out Adventures in Missions: http://www.adventures.org/
- Take a vacation – like a mission trip, you can make this whatever you want. It could be a trip somewhere, or a simple camping weekend in your backyard. Whatever it is, commit to not working for a whole weekend, or week…completely unplug, and spend some important quality time together as a family!
- Kids’ yearly doctor checkups
- Kids’ semiannual dentist visits
Here’s the recap of the complete habit list in case you missed it in the last two posts:
If you’re working on your own list of habits that are important to your family, here’s a blank template you can use.
Once you finish your list, I think the next step would be to use it to make a monthly family habit calendar, and then daily schedules.
I stayed up way too late the last two nights working on all of this (not smart)! I know it doesn’t look like much, but you know how things take WAY longer to finish when you’re half asleep?? 🙂 Here’s our monthly habit calendar for next school year:
And here’s a blank template if you would like to use it to make your own monthly habit calendar.
Then, when you fill out a monthly calendar at the start of each month, include all of your habits on it! Here’s a blank calendar for the month of July.
When I started working on our daily schedule for next school year, I decided our days vary enough that it would be easier if we had a separate schedule for each day. So far I’ve just finished our schedules for Monday. I did one for me, and one for the girls:
Here’s a blank daily schedule for you to use too 🙂
Remember when you do your daily schedule to include time for your daily cleaning chores…here’s a complete list of what to include.
That’s it for today. Remember to take all of this one step at a time. Work on it a little each day, and still make living for Jesus today your main mission.
Hugs ~ Sara