define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true); Shake Up Your Family Schedule ... and see how much fun you can have! - Enlightened Play Preschools

We hear how important it is to have quality time, family time, time to get out and exercise, time for enjoying your relationship with your partner or spouse. So maybe you have a date night set aside, but what about all those other nights? How do you pull it all together to make it work?

1. Talk a walk night. That’s right. Something simple like taking a neighborhood walk with the whole family. Take a stroller or wagon, bring the dog or a paper bag for litter pick up (don’t forget hand washing later) but align this with your family style. Just 20 or 30 minutes before dinner, before bath and couch time, before you go and do laundry. Breathe, walk and enjoy the luxury, the freedom, the weather and each other.

2. Picnic dinner. Take dinner to the front yard, back yard or neighborhood park. Take it out to your apartment deck….but take it out of your normal routine. This may be homemade or on a fast food night. Take it outside and make it fun. Spread a table cloth, eat and relax. Listen to each other’s stories, birds, and neighbors and make the meal count.

3. Make videos/dvds a special event not a built in babysitter. Label one night a week “Video Night”. Have your children draw the potential movies out of a hat, teach about democracy and have them vote, or go to your local library and pick out a movie for free! Make this a family shared movie. Discuss it and, once again make the evening count.

4. Kids eat free! We see these signs all around town. Make eating out with the kids an experience to: expand their vocabulary, expand and enrich their food tastes, broaden their cultural experience through the fabulous food we have… and allow the adults to be pampered. In order to teach children how to behave in public, you must practice. Go somewhere new. Try a new item. You can do all this on a budget and get home in time for bath!

5. Pick a social event and teach compassion and community. Every week or month have a special night that is serving others. Take dinner to grandma or great-grandma, have your children make or help with serving the homeless community, offer to host a potluck in your neighborhood. Extend your community and you will indeed enrich your life and the lives of your children.

Here are just a few ideas to shift, rather than change, your schedule. I hope they will inspire others. These ideas that might add a new sparkle into your home life and create memories forever. Put one or all of the ideas on the calendar and make a new family tradition. As I always say, start today.