Until recently I had thought that a “day of rest” was only for families who followed a particular faith, and who therefore took a complete day off from work and chores on Saturday and Sunday to worship God and spend time with their families.

I have gradually revised this view, and now realise the importance of a day of rest for all families so that they can re-charge tired batteries, and come together for family fun.

We have gradually been creating some traditions which have turned Sunday into a special day for our family. On Sunday mornings, I get up first and let Ian have a sleep in. The kids generally wake up early and go off to watch kids programmes in the lounge. They usually come and find me at about eight o’clock, and with great excitement announce “Mummy – get up, get up! You have to cook the special breakfast!!”. They then spend the next few minutes bickering over whether we should have pancakes, French toast, or eggs, bacon and mushrooms. This was becoming such a vociferous weekly argument that I have now put a three weekly menu rotation in place!

Cooking Sunday breakfast used to be solely my domain, but in the last few months I have been surprised by 3 children who want to “help”. For Sam the Man (5), helping involves setting the table and washing the mushrooms. The Mighty Middle (7), can pour the juice, slice mushrooms and stir things. The Little Princess (8), is now proficient enough to be in charge of a hot pan, and greatly enjoys cooking the mushrooms or scrambled eggs.

It’s great fun working with them each Sunday – although they do seem to create an unholy mess! Part of the tradition involves waking Dad up gently with kisses, taking him tea and toast in bed, and then calling him about 9 when breakfast is ready.

Some months ago we extended our Sunday traditions to include a “family outing” each Sunday afternoon. We go to the beach or a park, or go out cycling as a family. Whenever possible, if it is fine, we take the opportunity to get out into the great outdoors with the children to enjoy fresh air, sunshine and the spirit-rejuvenating properties of nature.

On wet winter days it is a bit trickier, but we usually spend time playing board games, reading books, going to the hot pools, or having a family spa.

A new tradition for us has been to add a “Family Dinner” too. Once again, the kids all get involved and we lay a special table (flowers and candles), cook something “yummy” and include a cooked dessert too. Just recently our children have been introduced to some good old-fashioned puddings for the first time – apple crumble, baked apples, and flambe bananas are very popular. (I’m wondering how they’ll react to puddings made of rice, sago or tapioca?!?!)

Our last treat for the day is to watch a “family movie”. This can be a kid’s movie that we’ve taped from tv, or it might be a dvd that we’ve rented (in which case it will be an old, not a new release, in order to keep the cost down). We all snuggle up on the “big” couch together, and share popcorn and lots of cuddles and fun.

I find that I greatly look forward to our weekly family day of rest – it’s a time of mental, physical and spiritual rejuvenation for all of us, as well as creating strong family bonds and lasting memories. The Little Princess has a delightful expression – she says “Mummy – I like spending all day with you – it recharges my mummy-batteries!”

Make the time to re-charge your family-batteries each week – I thoroughly recommend it.

 

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Kerry Burridge is mum to three great kids and was Kiwi Families founding Editor.

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