Our family is transitioning to a new work situation for Daddy Bruss. While he is still mostly working from home, most of that time is spent on the phone so the Sweet Peas can’t pop in to see him as is their habit. His office has quickly gone from an open-door to a closed-door situation. He has also stopped eating lunch with us…and there may be some travel coming up this year.
They are already starting to feel like they are not seeing him enough. So, one evening when he was gone for dinner, the Sweet Peas and I had a good conversation about why this new situation was going to be a long-term benefit for our family, and how to make the time we do see Daddy Bruss more meaningful.
Through the course of the conversation, they came up with the idea of creating a “Daddy Fun Jar”. Instead of rushing through clean up after dinner to watch their favorite streaming episodes, the Sweet Peas all agreed they would rather do something fun with their dad. (Screen time after dinner is a habit that formed from convenience; I cannot say I am sorry to see it go by the wayside.)
They came up with several ideas of fun things to do with their dad after dinnertime. And, they got to experience what “brainstorm” means! It was so neat to hear their ideas and have them peek over my shoulder to make sure I was getting everything written down. It also afforded us the opportunity to talk about the ideas and get consensus…team-building 101!
I intentionally did not make the jars or the cards “pretty” or “fancy” because I know I see things on social media, and then I don’t do them because it’s intimidating to try and get it “perfect”. I am sure that this could be done with a fancy printable label and beautifully printed and laminated cards…mine are old address labels from an obsolete printer and index cards from the dollar store, taped over with packing tape so that they don’t bleed or smudge when they are inevitably handled by messy hands, or if they land on a wet counter!
Here are the ideas they came up with:
I labeled two jars from our stash: one is “This Week” and the other is “Next Week”. We pick from the “THIS” jar on a nightly basis, and then we drop it in the “NEXT” jar so that we have an opportunity to run through all the cards once as we empty the “THIS” jar. Once all the activities have been enjoyed and transferred over to the “NEXT” jar, we will switch over the lids and the fun starts all over again.
The Sweet Peas have had so much fun doing one fun thing a day with their dad. They have had the opportunity to hear some of his childhood stories and have conversations with their dad. These meaningful moments wouldn’t have happened if they were playing in their rooms or camped out with their electronic devices.
It has actually become the highlight of the weekdays. I had a hard time convincing them that we didn’t really “need” to do a jar card on the weekends when we had spent the whole day with him.
If your family does something like this, I would love to read what kinds of activities your Sweet Peas think of to do with a parent that they see less of throughout the day. Leave me a comment with your ideas!