The fall schedule is bursting into full swing, and the best tool I've found to make our family time meaningful is kindness. I'm not trying to be overly precious, or trite. Or predictably the Big-Hearted Families ambassador you all know I am.
I'm being honest. We (regrettably) still haven't taken on any of the larger volunteer projects on my to-do list: a Meals on Wheels route, a monthly shift at the food shelf, or visiting the local nursing home. Maybe as things settle down, we'll carve out time for that. But here are three simple things we've have done in the last two weeks that have brought our whole family closer together:
1) September Book Club fun:Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun has been a around in our home for a long time. It was fun to dig it out as part of the September book club. This book lends itself to rich discussion, especially at the start of the school year. Plus, the activity for this month, creating a kindness chain, has made each evening special.
The kids are sharing many small moments of their school day that they might not otherwise bring up, and even us grown ups are sharing more with the kids than usual. It's been a great way to connect.
2) Take and Bake: A few of our new neighbors have had some major life events recently. Baking bread or muffins and gathering a few garden goodies to share has been a great way to get to know our community a little better, share a little homemade, homegrown love, and spend some messy time in the kitchen as a family.
3. Upcycling. Check out our new Pinterest board, Kids Can Up-cycle. In preparation for next month's book club activity, we've been exploring way to reuse t-shirts, and talking about the importance of keeping everything we can out of the landfill. This has sparked a lot of creativity, and a few notable improvements in our home recycling system.
Even when it seems there is no time for a BHF project, keep in mind that small kindness activities like these can be part of the regular schedule and make family time both joyful and meaningful.