4 Ways to Simplify Your Family’s Schedule

How is it possible to eat dinner together and exercise more when both parents work and kids are overscheduled? It can be done, says William Doherty, co-author of Putting Family First.

  • Schedule it. Make time for meals together just like you do for soccer practice or dentist appointments. Plan meals in advance, shop for groceries on weekends and freeze what you can.
  • Make it fun. Benefits from a family meal don’t happen just by sitting and eating together; it’s what you do with that time. First, turn off the TV and talk to one another. But avoid stressful subjects like report cards or work, or power struggles over food. Keep conversation light.
  • Go out and play. Remember that swing set in the backyard, the basketball hoop at the end of the driveway, the bikes in the garage? Even 15 minutes of fun together burns calories, reduces stress and promotes family bonding.
  • Take a break. Limit passive computer and TV time. Get up every 20 minutes and do some stretches, tackle a household chore or go out for a walk. It clears your mind and helps burn off lunch!

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