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Tuesday, January 5

Calling the Kids Home: Ways to Keep Your Children Close When They Move Out

Your kids have moved out, and you want to find a way to keep the family a part of each other’s lives. Although you may no longer be under the same roof full time, there are ways to keep the family close. Instead of mourning the changes that come, try to build some new traditions with your family that they can look forward to on a yearly, monthly, or even weekly basis.

How do you plan an event like this and get everybody on board? Here are some ideas of new traditions that you may want to consider starting with your family as they enter a new phase in life.

Weekly Dinners

The tradition for a weekly gathering involving food can be done any day of the week. Choose a time that consistently works for everyone in the family, and begin planning from there. A weekly meal is a great time for everyone to reconnect, and to keep the family ties strong. You can make it potluck-style, where each person brings their own dish to contribute.

Stay with a certain food that everyone enjoys, or make it a new variety every week. Either way, there is sure to be lots of bonding happening. With the average lifestyle getting busier all the time, this activity can be a great reminder to everyone that family is always a priority. Besides, if you have any college-age children surviving on ramen noodles all week… who wouldn’t want to come home to their mother’s great cooking as often as possible?

Family Vacations

If you live a distance away from family members and you need a way to reconnect for longer periods of time and less often than a weekly function, consider a cabin rental. Try to find a location that is in between where most family members would be travelling. Have everyone pitch in for the cost of the rental and other expenses, or cover it alone if you are in a financial position to do so.

Choose a spot that is secluded enough to keep the focus on family without constant distraction. Perhaps a nice spot in the woods would do, or by a lake. Think of the activities that your family would enjoy - whether that is boating, hiking, or skiing. Plan daily activities that pull you together such as meals where everyone helps clean up, and nightly campfires. Nature has a way of bringing everyone together.

Family Game Day

If your family is the active type, why not plan an entire day around sports and physical activity? Plan ahead so you know whether you need to book a field, or to get there early in the morning if it’s a “first come, first serve” situation. Choose a main activity, such as a baseball game. If your family is large enough, perhaps you could even divide into teams for each branch of the family, and compete to win final place.

Have everyone come with a few extra ideas of their favorite games, including sports and even board games. Ask everyone to bring supplies and gear. Plan the food and all the extra details so you are fully prepared. Everyone is sure to leave feeling great after all the fresh air, exercise, and a good dose of family fun.

Yearly Family Portrait

Whether you hire a professional or you are a budding photographer, family portraits are a great way to chronicle the changes in your family over the years.  Gather everyone together at your favorite spot and shoot away.  Don't forget a serious picture and a goofy picture. 

Although all of my girls are still at home, I do have an 18 year old who will soon be spreading her wings and leaving the nest.  I want to keep her connected with my husband and myself but also with her two sisters who are still at home.  Planning a time for family to reconnect can be a challenge in today’s busy world. It’s a challenge worth facing, though. People who remain connected to family relationships are at an advantage in many ways. Keep the family connections alive and call the kids home.

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