Family Room Fixes to Encourage Communication

family-room-lIf the kitchen is the heart of the home then the family room/living room is the soul. It is the room that brings the family together. It is a place to relax, unwind, entertain and be entertained. Communication happens here and relationships are built and/or strengthened here. Is your family room conducive to communication or is it cluttered with energy draining reminders?

First, take a look around. Often things are piled because they do not have a “home.”  Remove those things that do not belong in the room or create a space for them. Do you have enough storage for your CD’s, DVD’s and Video Games? Shelves, baskets or closed cabinets work well for these. Sort all media into piles and then count or measure how much you have before purchasing new containers. Be sure that you leave space to grow. Recycle newspapers, catalogs and all but the current month of your magazines unless there are important articles you want to read. Tear them out and put them in a plastic file folder (the kind with the string closure) and keep them in your car for those unexpected waiting times. Consider cutting down on those magazines that you never seem to get to read.

Take a look at the furniture placement. Is it encouraging communication or is the seating spread out to the edges of the room? It is often difficult to have conversations especially while the TV is on if people are seated too far away. Ever notice how loud commercials are? Well, take advantage of those three minutes to communicate by pausing (if you have a DVR) or muting the commercials. Discuss the show or take time to connect with your family. Better yet, plan some family fun for one or two nights a week and keep the TV off.

Keeping the family room neat and functional makes it the room everyone wants to be in. Take the time to give it a summer pick me up and then have the family take 10 minutes before bed to put everything back in its place. Then enjoy the added time to connect with your loved ones.

If you’re not sure where to start, or your room needs some extra organization help, then give me a call (781.659.0513) and in two or three hours you’ll be amazed at the difference.

Turn Off the TV and Turn On Your Creativity

The third week of April (April 20-26 2009) is Turn off the TV week. In Massachusetts this is also school vacation week – not a typical week for children but perhaps one with more flexibility.

            So, how much TV do you think you watch in a typical week?  I think you may be surprised. Often times, we as adults, just want to stop and slow down for a few minutes. Having that big black box staring back at us has the effect of a black hole….it pulls us in. We turn it on; we sit there and then wonder where the time went. Take a look at your TV habits. Do you have special shows that you watch or are you constantly flipping channels? Do you turn it on for the news and then watch the 6pm and 11pm news and everything in between? Well this is a good week to go “cold turkey” and turn off the TV. You might just realize that the hours of 7pm to 10pm are some of your best.

            Let’s face it, with TIVO and other DVR ‘s you can be the one in control of your viewing. By fast forwarding through the commercials you can save 15 minutes off each hour long program. I guess what I am saying is take a look, are you wasting valuable time getting hooked into something that really doesn’t interest you? Or are you deciding what and when you will watch?

            Families can work together to plan activities for the after dinner hours that are typically spent watching TV.  Be creative, you can bake cookies, play games, do crafts or read together. The options are limited only by your imagination. Even Barnes and Noble bookstores are getting into the act. They are providing story hours and game nights at many of their stores.

            Try it for the week and let me know what you do instead. If you’re a typical 3 or 4 hour a night watcher, that could mean 15 to 20 hours gained in just 5 days! Think about that! My husband doesn’t know it yet, but the TV is going off for the next four days. One thing I do want to mention, these three or four hours that you gain, should not be used to get more “work” done. Think of it as your “self-care” time or “family” time and use it wisely. Check out this website for more information:  

Good luck.