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The Upside to the Economy—Families Come Together This Summer

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At-Home Family Time, Upside to Economy

Quality time at home has emerged as a major silver lining in today’s economic picture. In fact, families are cutting back on out of the home occasions, with 58 percent of Americans citing that they are dining out less and 53 percent spending less on vacations.  This gives Mom the chance again to focus on the true joys that have knit families together for generations, says Kathy Peel, “America’s Family Manager.”

Peel finds that even if finances really get tight, submitting to a “survival mode” mindset can rob the family of life’s joys. “Don’t let that happen! Scale down and make adjustments, but don’t eliminate fun—it’s an absolute necessity for family health.”  Creating simple occasions at home like spending the night playing games over a bowl of popcorn is a great way to reconnect and bring the family together.

Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn has been uniting families for more than 40 years and partnered with Peel to share ideas that are both fun and frugal. “Quality family-fun time doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated—we’ve all seen the tot who plays more with the box than the toy,” Peel says.

Through her 20 books, Family Manager website, blog and frequent appearances, Peel helps Mom simplify the home and create a strong family team. “Many parents say that although tighter budgets are painful, the upside is an opportunity to change spending routines that had gotten out of hand,” she says.  “Instead of finding joy in splurging, they’re finding joy in spending more time with family and creatively solving how to stretch resources.”

Kathy encourages Mom and Dad to start the summer by holding a family meeting, and discuss the budget so children will have realistic expectations. The aroma and taste of snacks like Orville Redenbacher’s help bring the family together for this meeting.  After that, it’s discovery time!  Make a list of resources in the home.  Look in closets—do you have games, cards, musical instruments, art or craft supplies, hobby or sports gear?  Most families have forgotten about the many things they have squirreled away.  Make another list of resources in your community—parks, farmers markets, museums, the zoo.  Then brainstorm with the family about things you can do if you have 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, a half day, a whole day, or a weekend.  It’s remarkable how quickly your time will fill up.

Don’t let budget get you down. These inexpensive options will make for family fun and many memories this summer.

Photo by Kenny Moller and used with permission from Flickr.

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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