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Start a New Family Holiday Tradition Together
With all the energy and attention that goes into the holiday season, it can be difficult to keep family at the top of your priority list.
“Everyone runs in different directions preparing for the holidays, making it challenging to find time to connect as a family. However, it's important to build in some opportunities for relaxation and family togetherness,” says Helene Sheena, MD, FAAP, a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Whether it’s spending an afternoon baking holiday cookies with the kids or putting out the decorations, it’s the time together that we cherish and remember.”
Dr. Sheena says that even the most mundane tasks can be fun when you do them together. She suggests these simple tips to help make it easier to create “family time.”
- Family time doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is together at exactly the same time. Pair up with whichever family member isn’t already busy with another activity instead of waiting for everyone to be able to participate.
- Think quality, not quantity. Expecting to find 30 minutes of “alone time” with each family member may not be practical. The key is to focus on each one, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, without cell phones, TVs, or other electronic distractions.
- Take time to enjoy a family meal and share the high points and struggles of the day or upcoming plans.
- Involve the entire family in holiday shopping, wrapping gifts, and cooking.
- Take advantage of cooler weather to spend time outside. Walk the dog together, play catch, or put on helmets and go for a neighborhood bike ride.
“It doesn’t matter whether you plan special activities or spend unstructured time with family, as long as you’re doing it together,” concludes Dr. Sheena.