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Family Money

Most everyday family activities in our house don’t cost much money but keep our children asking to do them over and over again. Here are five ways we have fun and keep our costs down.

Be Present.

If you ask my 4 and 8-year-old what their favorite family time activities are, they’d say playing board games, making s’mores in the fire pit, and rough housing with dad. Doing things the kids request as a family makes them feel represented and important.

Listen.

Cook together and share a meal as a family. Cooking together lets kids have a voice in what they eat and shows how healthy meals are prepared. Sitting down to eat as a family is one of the best parts of my day. My children compete to be heard and they love telling us stories or about their favorite part of their day. It is proven that listening to little children talk about their day and/or feelings will allow them to feel comfortable telling you about their bigger problems as they get older.

Get Physical.

My kids are always outside riding bikes/scooters, helping in the garden, on the swings or kicking a ball around in the backyard. I find it cool that they’d prefer these physical activities over video games. I find it ironic that even when my kids get screen time, they are asking us to watch with them or to play too.

Make memories.

When I think back on my own childhood, my fondest memories with my family were crabbing in a rubber rowboat, baking greasy eggplant parmesan, and rubber matches of Monopoly. The things I had may be gone but my memories will be forever in my heart.

For birthdays and holidays, give the gift of time and experiences you can enjoy together (i.e. season passes to an amusement park, a children’s museum or a local farm) rather than another toy that will be tossed aside and quickly forgotten. Years from now, they won’t remember the stuff but they will remember the time spent with them.

These everyday activities don’t cost much money but the family memories are worth their weight in gold.

Nikki Ducas is a budget-savvy Fredericksburg mom teaching her two young sons that you can afford nice things without accumulating debt.

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