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COLUMN: Creating family time

Have you ever wondered why some families seem able to "bounce back" from tragedies and others aren't? The ability for families to "bounce back" is called resiliency. Resiliency is the family's ability to use their strengths when meeting the challenges of life. What makes a family resilient? Characteristics such as commitment, cohesiveness, adaptability, communication, connectiveness, resource management and spirituality all have been shown to help families become resilient.

With all the pressures on today's families, it is hard to find time to spend together. But in order for your family to be connected, cohesive, and communicate positively, it is important to prioritize family time. While strong families are not exempt from the shortage of time, they have

learned some creative ways to spend valuable time with each other.

• Eat meals together. Sharing meals together on a regular basis gives families the opportunity to catch up on each other's activities. Family meetings can also take place during meals.

• Learn to work with each other's personality and needs. It is important to help each family member adapt to changes or new expectations. Have family meetings to discuss rules and expectations of each family member. Learn coping skills and problem solving skills together

• Celebrate special events as a family. Birthdays, holidays and vacations are terrific ways to spend time with family.

• Play together. Indoor and outdoor activities allow family members valuable time to interact with each other in a fun atmosphere.

• Work together. By working with family members to complete chores, you are teaching important life skills. Not only are you able to get the job done, your child is learning responsibility.

• Create special traditions. Family traditions show members that they are unique and special. Traditions act as a unifier for families. Explore spirituality as a family. Take time to teach family values.

• Learn to use family resources appropriately. Talk about the family budget. Let children help save for family vacations. Give everyone some responsibility for saving for the future. Commitment is the most important aspect in the quest to find time to spend together.