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Back to School Quality Time Without Spending a Dime!

As the school bell rings and your child runs off to class for the first time this fall, remember the one thing all children benefit from is quality time with you! Going back to school after the summer can feel awkward for kids. However, scheduling special time with a parent will help give them a boost of confidence and a feeling of security. This self-assurance will be reflected in your child's relationships at school and increased comfort level with a new teacher.

In addition to the ideas listed below, it is a good idea to commit to spending regular time with your entire family each week. Creating a special family calendar with one day that is set aside each week for family activities is a great way let your children know that they are your number one priority.

Studies continue to show the benefits of nightly family dinners as exemplified by a national initiative called Family Day at which reminds families that what kids need at the dinner table is their parents.

Here are 5 low-cost and high-value ideas for special time together as your child goes back to school:

1. Have a picnic in the park together. Don't forget to bring food, drinks, a special treat and a blanket or tablecloth to sit on!

2. Go to a children's museum (most museums have free admission days at least once a month) together and write in a family journal about what everyone learned and experienced. Focus on humor and positive experiences. Have your child dictate his thoughts while you write the story in the journal. Then, have him draw a picture on the page, above the written story.

3. Create a treasure map for your child while she is at school. When she comes home, give her the map and go on a treasure hunt together! (Make sure to include an extra special treat in the memory box.)

4. Together with your child, create a playlist of 5 of your family's favorite songs and have a dance party.

5. Read your child his or her favorite story and then draw a picture together (on the same paper) about the characters, places and storyline. If your child is really into this, you can write a continuation of their favorite book and illustrate it together as an ongoing project!

There are many ideas of things you can do with your children to have fun while building their self-esteem and not breaking the bank. In today's times of economic stress, it is important for families to stay focused on each other and to look for simple ways to share life experiences together.

Britt Michaelian M.A. is the CEO of Responsible Family Company and author of the book Secrets of the Safety Goddess due to be released this Fall. To receive a free report and sign up for her handy newsletter go to

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