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Health & Parenting

Secrets of Stress-Free Family Time

Here's how to downshift from a busy day so you can relax and reconnect with the ones you love.
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Listen and Learn

"After I walk the dog to clear my head of work stuff, I ask my kids about their day. Usually it only takes a little question from me, like, 'How's school?' or, 'What was the best part of your day?' for them to start sharing. I just sit back and pay attention. It's a great way for me to catch glimpses into their lives, and reminds me of the close relationship I had with my father when I was little." —Stacey Radin, 38, New York City; mom to Justin, 11, and Jordyn, 8

Play 20 Questions

"We hang out in the family room and play a good old-fashioned game of 20 Questions about something we see in the room. The bigger kids get superexcited and can't wait until it's their turn to pick an item. The babies are with us too, playing with toys that we put on the floor in front of them. Because you have to focus on what's immediately around you, your mind really can't wander and there are no distractions. With work, TV, e-mails, cell phones, and homework put aside, I find that I'm right there in the moment with all of my children enjoying quality time." —Tiffany Petrossi, 35, San Jose, CA; mom to Gabriella, 10, Liam, 7, and Aidan and Lily, both 1

Strike a (Yoga) Pose

"On days when the weather doesn't cooperate, I do yoga with my daughter in our basement. She chooses the poses, which are always animal-related. Our favorites are the Camel pose, the Dead Bug pose, and the Butterfly pose. She is infinitely more flexible than I am, but she has less patience, so we are a balanced team. The only problem we run into is when our dogs try to join in — our 'session' ends up erupting into silliness instead of calm!" —Mary Talalay, 43, Baltimore; mom to Miriam, 5

Change the Scenery

"A couple times each month, I pick up my son from school and head to Starbucks, where we meet my husband for a delicious drink, a treat, and a round of Uno, one of my favorite childhood games. Spending time in a different environment gets us out of our 'home routine' and always creates lots of interesting conversation and laughter, which always brings us closer. We usually stay for 45 minutes, and by the time we leave, I feel completely tuned in to both of them." —Dianne Sikel, 39, Phoenix; mom to Adam, 9

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