Feel like you’re losing the reigns on your family routine? You’re not alone. But you’re not powerless! Here are some simple and creative ways that moms and dads can add that element of ritual – in other words, something that you and the kids will look forward to – to your week.
1. Light candles
At the dinner table, before a particular weekly meal, or while you’re sitting together reading. Let the flicker of the light ground you in the moment.
Create blessings. Use your own words or borrow from a religious tradition – and designate a time each week when you confer a blessing on your child. Perhaps let them give one to you.
2. Get back to nature
Make time – regularly, if you can – to get outside together with your children. Hike around the grounds at the Cranbrook House & Gardens in Bloomfield Hills. Try a local park, like the 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks in southeast Michigan, Oakland County Parks, Wayne County Parks or parks in Washtenaw County. Or just throw a ball in your own backyard! Fresh air, sunshine and the sounds of the natural world are incredibly grounding.
3. Relish prime time
Honor the best – and worst – times of the day. Don’t over-program the witching hour or sleep so late that you miss the quiet of the sunrise. Early morning is a perfect time to be quiet and truly talk with your child.
4. Write poetry
You don’t have to be an expert to put words together. Write songs, poems or stories as a family. In this way, you give voice to concerns, to wonders and tell the stories of your lives.
5. Return to basics
Get back to the basic things. When times get tough, simplify. Look hard at what you might be able to let go of and do it.
Sometimes, family life can feel like a hamster running on the wheel in his cage. Find opportunities to get outside of your routine and learn new locales, new information and new people. It helps to put perceived problems in perspective.
This post was originally published in 2011 and has been updated for 2016.