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Monday, May 20, 2024

The Y — focus on what’s important


When children are asked “What makes a happy family?” they often answer, “Doing things together!” Doing things together builds family strengths and memories and just happen to be a lot of fun! Strong relationships are one of the cornerstones of health and well-being, and few relationships are as important as those between parents and children when it comes to helping kids learn, grow, and thrive. That’s why the Y upholds family time as one of the three pillars that make up a healthy family home.  Aligning with the Y’s cause of improving the nation’s health and well-being and promoting the belief that healthy children come from healthy families, the Healthy Family Home concept focuses on an approach that helps families integrate regular physical activity with healthy food choices and building healthy, strong relationships.

There are many things we do each week for our children. There are sport practices, play dates, lessons… the list goes on and on. At the Y through our Healthy Family Home initiative we know time is a valuable commodity and like to focus on what parents can do with their children. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about working at the Y is that I am surrounded each day by kids and families. I have younger children, (8,2) so I try to absorb all the knowledge I can from parents and learn from their experiences. While I have found that different approaches work for different families, the one thing that is consistent in everyone’s advice is that raising children is a fast paced, hectic lifestyle that no one would change for the world. “Time goes by so fast,” they say. “One day my child was riding on training wheels the next day he was driving off to college.” I see this happening in my own life- time does fly, 2nd grade becomes third grade in a blink; baby pictures fade into school pictures and so on and so on. I often have to slow myself down and remember what all the Y parents have been telling me…focus on what’s important, slow down and enjoy this time because it won’t last forever.

Summer is a great time to focus on what’s important and the YMCA can even provide you with an assist. Thanks to support from the City’s SECA Fund, five Friday nights throughout the summer, families can enjoy watching recent box office favorites on our 20 foot jumbo screen in historical Central Park. This is the third year the Y has been providing “Movies Under the Stars.” The best news is that, enjoying this family time will not break the bank.  Movie nights are free to the public.

The fun begins on June 1st! Movies begin at dusk so bring your blankets early and save your space. Go to dinner in downtown Naperville or play WITH your children in the park or on the playground. You will all remember the times you share. Soon you will be looking back and asking, “Where did the time go?”

June 1:  The Muppets

June 29:  Kung Fu Panda 2

July 20:  The Smurfs

August 10:  Cars 2

September 7:  Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

For more information on the YMCA go to www.kroehlerfamilyymca.org. For more great resources and information on the Y Healthy Family Home concept please go to www.healthyfamilyhome.org

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R.J. Bartels
R.J. Bartelshttp://www.ymcachicago.org/kroehler/
R. J. Bartels is Executive Director at Kroehler Family YMCA. Contact him at rbartels@ymcachicago.org.


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