As we all ring in the new year, I can’t help but comment on the economic challenges many families are facing now and will be facing in the months and years to come. I suspect we all had more cost conscious holiday spending if not actually scaling back purchases and we also began to think more about scaling back our consumption all year long.
As we tighten our belts, we will all be spending more time at home and less time shopping, eating out, and heading to the theater. At first, this will seem strange and even a bit uncomfortable. We are used to being entertained through our escapades out of the house and finding fun inside our own four walls will be challenging at first. Resist the urge to turn on the TV and passively spend all of your time. It may work to distract and entertain but you won’t grow as a family or even as an individual by watching TV!
Here are some ways to pass the time, grow as an individual, and get closer to your kids.
Instead of going to the ice cream parlor have a make your own sundae bar at home! The kids will love it and it will cost pennies.
Instead of going to the movies, go to the library and get a movie out from there and make homemade popcorn for an evening in. “Kit Kittredge” was fantastic and all of my kids loved it!
Instead of shopping for new stuff, take some of what you and your kids already have and recycle it. Use some of the fabrics from one to decorate the other or find ‘treasures’ in each other’s cast offs. Or head to a neighborhood garage sale for real bargains!
Instead of heading out to the pancake house for Sunday breakfast, make the batter the night before and have a variety of fresh fruits and whipped cream and syrup to make for a fun family breakfast.
Instead of going to the gym, take your kids sledding or to Campus Martius to go ice skating or for a long walk noticing the changes in the neighborhood as the seasons change.
Instead of buying cookies from the grocery store, make some of your own!
Instead of watching TV, play games or learn to knit or tie dye an old t-shirt or build with legos or read a book or do a crossword puzzle.
Be creative, hang out with your family, and spend less money and each day will be your best!
Molly O’Shea, MD Birmingham Pediatrics + Wellness Center