I'm a Seattle parent on the brink of a career change.
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quality Time on a Budget

(girls working in their "water kitchen")

I volunteer for my local Y and get their e-newsletter. Today's issue carried a list of low cost or free family activities that build togetherness.

Connection- there it is, the essence of life. The presence or lack of it drives behaviors good and bad. Connection determines whether we're happy at work (not entirely salary, mind you), happy with ourselves (connection here meaning that you know who you are and what you value) and, I think, if we're happy at home. A friend (Heligirl, a blogger with killer parenting insight) told me this weekend that kids usually act out because they simply want their parent's attention, and to some negative attention is nearly as good as positive attention.

There were several ideas from the YMCA list that I implement regularly, and a few new ones I'm going to try. Here's what's coming up on our agenda:

1) At home art project: We're decorating memo cubes as teacher gifts. This is a low cost idea. We're using art supplies we already have (stamp pads and markers) to decorate memo pads for our favorite teachers. Both my girls love art projects and this is one we get to pay forward. Perfect!
2) Picnic. Weather might keep us from eating outside, but indoor or out, the appeal of eating on the floor persists. Ava will help make the sandwiches, Sydney will help spread out the snack mat, and we'll be good to go.
3) Walk around the block. We actually did this yesterday to distribute flyers for our neighborhood council meeting. Ava thought it was great fun to roll up the paper and wedge it against the door handle- we problem-solved several techniques and she was clearly proud to appoach each house on her own. I think trick or treating will go a little more smoothly this year. Whether there's an assignment or not, there's always something to see or someone to talk to on a walk around our block, free of charge!

What will you do this week to connect with your family?