family eating dinner

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Create Quality Time

Three readers share the traditions that help them savor time with family.

"For Friday dinners, I had a vase stuffed with folded Post-it notes, each with a conversation topic on it, like 'What do you love most about the person sitting next to you?' When my kids were young, we'd all pick one and take turns answering. Mixed in were bonus coupons for a kid's-choice meal or free ice cream."
—Lisa Rowell, 45, Falmouth Massachusetts

"It's so easy to crowd the calendar with activities, but last year we decided not to enroll our son in anything on weekends. Instead, we have Explorers Day—we take turns picking a destination. We bike or drive with grandparents, which feels leisurely because we're not racing back for other things on the schedule."
—Anne Medved, 33, Boston

"Deciding which movie to watch as a group used to take forever. Now my sisters and I play a game we call 3-2-1. One of us picks three movies to watch, the next narrows it down to two options, and the last person makes the final choice. It's a fun bonding game—and now no more bickering if the movie is lousy." —Jamie Spitz, 24, New York City