Spending a vacation with your family is a great way to make memories, but what about when the vacation ends? How can you keep your family close the rest of the year? As our kids get older, and they start becoming independent, how can we stay connected? The answer is simple. . . Time. Give your family part of your time every day. Whether you work outside the home, or stay home with the kids, our time can slip away very quickly. We need to make a conscious effort to spend good, quality time with our families EVERY DAY. We do not know how long we will have together. Accidents happen every day. Who wants to live with regret from what they should have done? We need to make the effort. Just 20 minutes a day of one on one alone time, will mean the world to your child, or your spouse. Play a game, just the two of you. Read your child a book, snuggled up in a chair. It can be very hard to do this while you have little ones in the house, but times like that make one on one time that much more meaningful. Yes, you are exhausted, but 10 years from now, you won’t remember being exhausted, you will only remember spending time with your kids, or ignoring them. You will either have fond memories, or the sinking feeling of regret. Even with teens, you can find something to do with them. Be creative. It doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, my teen is studying Italian this year. So I taught her how to shuffle cards properly (a lot of laughs ensued!) and then we played a modified version of an Italian game. We didn’t have the proper deck of cards, but our American cards worked just fine and we had a blast. Simple, little things can make a huge difference. Bake together, build something together. The point is to spend quality alone time with each member of your family. Make them feel important and worth your time. One more thing, and this is a HUGE one. . . do not, under any circumstances have any electric devices with you when you are spending your time together. Nothing sucks the joy out of special bonding time like a cell phone or tablet. Kids will most certainly feel ignored and unimportant. If you can’t be away from your phone for 20 minutes at a time, you may have an addiction. Show the people you love that THEY are important to you. Not some cyber friend, or game, but that person you are face to face with is worthy of your undivided attention. I even tell the other kids that they will get their turn, but not to disturb our time alone together. They are pretty good about respecting that. Not always perfect with the waiting rule, but pretty good 🙂 I challenge you, for one week to spend quality time each day with all the members of your family. Even 5 minutes a day can make a difference. I guarantee it will change your kids attitudes, it will make them feel loved. Do whatever it is they want to do, let them win the game, let them experiment with their own baking recipe. You will have fun and bond your relationship for life.