- The simple act of touch. If you’re like me and not a touchy-feely person then this tip is especially for you. Be sure when you are talking with one of your loved ones to touch them as you talk. A pat on the back or side hug or even just sitting right next to them on the sofa (I mean RIGHT next to them with no comfort zone buffer), while you’re talking, can add an extra layer of connection. Touching says, “I see you, I love you.”
- Give them each 5 minutes of undivided attention. That sounds SO easy, but when you put it into practice it is hard. I’ll tell one of my kids, “Hey! I want to know how you’re doing today so I’m setting my phone timer for 5 minutes. Let’s talk alone for that whole time.” Maybe they will chatter for 5 minutes or maybe they will have nothing to say. The pressure can make it hard for some of my guys to think of anything to talk about. That’s OK. I ask them questions until the timer goes off (my teens are generally relieved when it’s over).
- Read together. I say this all of the time…reading a book as a family makes strong connections. You all travel on a literary adventure together and can discuss what each of you is learning from the book. Or if you choose a children’s book try reading it aloud 5 days in a row and talking about different aspects of the story each time. A little book like Really Woolly Christmas Blessings can spark a discussion about sheep, the Bible, farm animals, the kind of art the illustrator used, music, and so much more!
- Make a playlist together and use it! My kids love to add their favorite songs to my family playlist and each day we dance around to at least two songs. I just open it and shuffle the tunes and let the phone decide what we will dance to that day. Dancing and being playful makes great memories.
- Serve others. Serving other people is the very best way to connect as a family. From buying gifts for the kids on the giving tree to saving together to help a family who has lost their job to mowing an elderly neighbor’s lawn…serving together gives you a unified purpose that is for something besides yourselves. There are a thousand ways to serve so if you’re really busy look for quick, simple activities like putting away all of the carts in the grocery store parking lot or buying someone’s groceries who seems to need a helping hand (that is one of our favorite things to do!).
Really it’s just about making sure each day that you have done something meaningful with each person in your home during the busyness of the holiday season. You don’t need to make a production out of it, just a touch or a dance or a short book can get you through and create special memories for all of you.
Check out Really Woolly Christmas Blessings here.