Peter: Once dinner's been served and homework has been finished, sit back and watch how your family interacts. Do they stay in the same room, or do they scatter? How much are they using technology to fill the void of their other activities? Tonight's the night to identify some potentially bad habits and nip them in the bud.
After about an hour, organize an activity the whole family can participate in. This doesn't mean watching a TV show or a movie together—it means interacting with each other and reconnecting as a family. If you notice your kids clamoring for the video game system, challenge the family to a Guitar Hero tournament. If your kids retreated into different stories, ask them to pick one and read it aloud as a family. If your kids are all over the map, call them in for an activity that unites you all. It could be a great time to break out the photo albums and tell fun family stories as you relive the memories. Even something as silly as a game of charades will work to get you talking, laughing and interacting with each other.
THE RATHI REPORT
Tanuja: It was another nice day of not running around. I could feel my youngest, Sabrina, getting a little irritated today from boredom. I was able to make one of their favorite dinners because I had time. We all sat down for a nice dinner.
After dinner, everyone scattered to their rooms. Sabrina wanted to play a game. I had to persuade the others to come play a game. Once they came, they did enjoy playing a game together.
Drop in on some of the family game night!
After that, Sabrina wanted me to read her a book, which I have not done in a long time. We read all her favorite books, which really brought back some fond memories. My other two daughters did not want to join us, as they were in their rooms doing their own things (Savi on her DS playing a game, and Nina wanting to read her own book). My husband was downstairs on the computer searching the Net.
The one thing I am realizing today is just because you create more time at home, doesn't mean that you will spend quality time together. It is very easy for all of us to stay "busy" with our own things, even if we are under the same roof. One person in the family needs to make sure that we do spend quality time together and make that a priority.
Raj: I think the dogs are starting to wonder what is going on. Everyone is home and paying attention to them. Things actually seem less chaotic. Kids have time to get everything done, but I'm wondering if they are missing out on their fun stuff—piano, horseback riding, gymnastics. There is a slow technology creep going on in the house (Nintendo DSi's, BlackBerrys, etc.), so we'll be on the lookout for this in future days.