By. Meredith Biesinger
It’s the new year, and that means new goals for everyone. Student engagement is something educators constantly work on, in addition to classroom engagement, and focus on personal engagement. Along with the traditional plans that tend to center around health and fitness, finances, and personal bucket lists—this year, be sure to add family and friend engagement to the list.
As educators, it’s easy to hyper-focus on our students and all our many responsibilities at school. It can be all-consuming, but don’t let it be. Should you care about your students? Absolutely! But remember that the other areas of your life need time and attention too. Not to mention, it’s much healthier for you to be intentional with your time as a teacher and an adult with many other roles in your life.
Give the Gift of Time
Gifts are lovely, but they often break or fade over time. Time creates memories, and those are priceless. Spend time with loved ones often, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a board game, or a family dinner. Those moments matter and will have lasting, positive effects.
Since it’s a time of goal setting, why not set a family goal together? Make time to exercise together if it’s your or another family member’s personal goal. Get the kids involved through basic movements like running, stretching, or working out together at home. This enforces healthy habits while allowing the family to spend time together. Win, win.
Technology Time Out
Technology is fantastic and so very helpful. However, it is often easy to disengage with our loved ones when we are busy on our phones and tablets. Carve out some time to set technology aside and simply spend time with one another.
Say yes. Maybe not to everything but to some things. If a child asks you to play soccer in the backyard or play a game with them, say yes. If a family member needs to talk and wants to meet for coffee, say yes. These “yes” moments are more meaningful than we realize and help to build our relationships and nurture them.
Find a Family Hobby
Find something each family member likes or wants to do and then do it together. Artsy? Get out the art supplies and draw or paint together. Musical? Start a family band. Readers? Start a family book club and read together. Athletic? Make it a priority to go to the park and play your favorite sport or simply practice in your backyard.
Speak kind words of encouragement and affirmation to each other daily. This takes just a moment, but its impact is lasting. Whether out loud and in person or via text message, our words matter, and they can genuinely make someone’s day better. Here’s to 2023! Regardless of your goals, be sure to engage with those who matter most in your life, including yourself.