By Anne Mead
The title is an old saying that remains true today. Families that spend time together develop communication and healthy living skills and learn to overcome family issues. The family is the basic unit of society!! Intentional family time creates a better sense of unity, preserves the concept of family, creates rituals and develops traditions. With our go, go, go lifestyle with work, athletics, computers and technology, and social engagements, we often forget time for family play.
So what do I mean by play? For many years, in my home, we have had a 500- or 1000-piece puzzle laid out on the table. Family members walk by, stop and put in a few pieces or sit down with others to work on it. Just the other night, I heard laughter downstairs and there were my 27- and 30-year-old daughters working on the puzzle. What activities can a family do that are fun, develop skills and are inexpensive? Board games such as Candyland for families with younger children or Monopoly for older children, Go Fish and other card games, family movie night with snacks, a good game of tug-of-war, sack races, painting, family swim and ice skating. As the weather becomes warmer, a hike at a Danbury park, playing at one of the playparks or packing your favorite lunch and heading off to a picnic lunch are wonderful activities. Family gardens are another great way to work together while learning about growing and then cooking vegetables.
When extended families are present, tell stories from when you were younger. Storytelling preserves family traditions and helps pass them down from generation to generation. My grandchildren love to hear stories about when I was growing-up, my horses, my siblings and parents, and activities that I did. I often find myself telling the story and then explaining to them what a 45 or 78 record or an 8-track tape was.
Even as your children grow and live in faraway locations, the ties that were developed in their early childhood will remain through their lifetime. Start by building a solid foundation while they are young that will live within them for a lifetime.
In Danbury on Saturday, April 9, Family University will take place at Rogers Park Middle School from 8:30-2:00. This free day is for families to learn and play. Activities for parents to do with their children, such as building birdfeeders, yoga, creating homework boxes, music, theater and learning about GPS, will be offered first. Parents will then be able to take seminars of their choice: protecting your children from online predators, financial health, raising kids that talk, Circle of Security, Mind in the Making, positive discipline, developing partnerships with your child’s school and transitions to kindergarten, middle and high school. Childcare as well as activities for children will be provided. The full brochure will be available on the home page at www.danbury.k12.ct.us; registration is required so that enough supplies and lunch can be provided.
Anne E. Mead, M. Ed., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.