Courtney has talked about this before, but one of the things we do to get some one-on-one time with our kids is take them out for dates. The kids always love it and we treasure the time to connect with our kids in a way that doesn’t really work in the daily rhythms of life. But we’ve found it difficult at times to stick with the whole date thing on a regular basis because we’re tired or we’re busy or someone’s sick or whatever. Oftentimes it’s simply because we haven’t taken the time to plan beforehand what to do with the kids on their date, so we’re not ready for it when it comes.
A while back, Courtney found this blog post describing how the author and her husband make kid date cards for each month. They give them to their kids around the start of the new year so they know what’s coming and they can look forward to it with anticipation. Plus, a whole year’s worth of dates are pretty much planned already. So, we brainstormed together and came up with our list of what we’d like to do with the kids. I unfortunately found the cards a little difficult to customize the way I wanted to, so I ended up taking the design and personalizing it for our kids. You can see the result here and here.
We gave these to the kids in their stockings and they’re thrilled. The content of the dates are already chosen, so each month it’s simply a matter of picking out the days that will work best and penciling them in. We’re actually doing some of them today since there are some kid workshops. And we hope that in carving out the time for this, we not only bless our kids with fun activities but also get some time to get to know their hearts a little better.
I love fresh starts. It seems like most people do. And obviously many use the good ol’ January 1st for that purpose every year. I don’t claim there’s anything magical about that day in particular, but our family does join with the rest of the country to do some re-evaluating and goal setting. It’s a quieter time when the craziness of the holidays is dying down, and it’s the middle of the school year. So why not?
Here are some things we do to prepare for the new year:
- Go through Don Whitney’s “10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or on Your Birthday.” Psst, there are actually 31 questions… This just gets the good ol’ noggins going regarding priorities.
- Clean out our file folders. It’s a great time for it since we’ll start getting new tax forms in the next few weeks.
- Evaluate our budget from the previous year and rework it to suit our needs.
- Plug into our calendar a long (7-day) and short (extended weekend) family vacation, four personal retreats for Bill and me (two each), a weekend getaway for Bill and me, and a dudes’ weekend and a chicks’ weekend (for Bill and our boys and then me and our girls). These get planned to intentionally set aside time for memory making, reconnecting, rest, and evaluating.
- Prioritize big purchases we plan to make.
- Make one overall family goal (this year it’s prayer), and one goal for Bill and me (this year mine’s doing one thing at a time, no multi-tasking; Bill’s is moving more slowly, not being too quick to act).
- List books we’d like to read in the next year.
- Take a fresh look at our daily and school schedule, deciding what needs to change.
- Come up with blog goals (these will be posted tomorrow).