For parents, there is no greater joy than seeing your family play, laugh, and bond together. Sometimes it can seem difficult to keep everyone’s schedule organized and include time to spend with one another. To help your family continue to grow together as a unit, check out these 5 ways to strengthen your family bond.
1. Eat Meals Together
Mealtime is a perfect opportunity to strengthen your family bond with your family. Young or old, your children can benefit from eating together. Younger children often associate family meals as a feeling of belonging and help them build a daily routine.
According to a study from Columbia University, teenagers also look forward to dinner and utilize that time to catch-up and bond with other family members. Busy schedules may mean that mealtime needs to be adjusted so everyone can be there.Try to set the precedent that mealtime is family time and it cannot be ignored. This is also a great time to help children work on their manners and general communication skills.
Dinner is important because it’s the time of day that can help center your family. You can pray together, hear how everyone’s day went, and get a better idea of what is coming up that your children are looking forward to or even a little anxious about. Mealtimes can also be an all-hands-on-deck opportunity. This is a great way to get the whole family involved and strengthen that family bond that you have established.
Have everyone rotate with the dinner duties! One can set the table, have another person cook (or assist in cooking if they’re not old enough), someone can serve, and then the other can (most importantly) clean up. Use this nifty meal planning template and set a menu for the week together too.
Now dinner may not be the best time for everyone to get together. Maybe breakfast or lunch works better for your family. If your work schedules prevent everyone from being together during the week try the weekend. There is no singular perfect solution, just do whatever works best for your family’s situation. (Read: 10 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit – Healthy Lifestyle Tips)
2. Schedule Family Time to Strengthen Your Family Bond
Some parents cringe at the idea of scheduling everything, but planning together can be very beneficial to strengthen your family bond. Creating a schedule for your family is helpful in terms of planning for the week and to help your children establish healthy routines and habits. Try to plan your meals for the week – Spaghetti Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc. – have your children help plan so they’re excited about meals they helped pick out. (Read: 5 Easy Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Kids)
Don’t overlook scheduling fun activities too. Movie night is a popular family activity. When Friday rolls around, choose to lay low and recover from the week by hanging out together and watching a movie. Your family can take turns choosing the movie and the snacks.
If you have a range of ages in the house, use Pure Flix, a family-friendly video streaming service that offers wholesome and educational choices for the whole family. You’ll never have to worry about an unsavory scene popping up that isn’t appropriate for the little ones.
Another great activity is going on a family outing once a month. You can get creative with this and have each family member pick a different idea every month. Children can learn new skills like how to build a campfire or set up a tent on a family camping trip in the woods. Or maybe you have a family full of thrill seekers.
Find a theme park full of attractions and rides (in a drivable distance) and take a day trip. Even taking the family out to dinner to experience a new type of cuisine is a great way for you all to spend time together, try something new and strengthen your family bond!
3. Value Experiences Over Things
As children get older and the pressure of society increase, they can start to prioritize material items to help them fit in. While children are attempting to form their groups of friends at school, it’s normal for them to want the same things as everyone else. Whether its clothes, cell phones, or a popular game, your child will long to connect with the people around them through those material objects.
With that being said, it’s crucial to teach your child to value experiences over things from a young age. While your child may be begging for the newest gadget or toy, you most likely have an entire room in your house filled with toys the just don’t play with anymore. Sure, planning experiences take a lot more effort than just giving in and buying what they want.
And it doesn’t end there; you have to be part of the experience with them, and not everyone in your family will agree on their idea of a fun activity. You may not want to give up the feeling of how happy they get when you give them a new present, but they’ll most likely have more fun doing something as a family.
What is your child’s favorite thing to do? Play a game of LIFE? Watch their favorite basketball team? Turn those experiences into gifts for your child, and you’ll still get the joy of watching their face light up as you all do something that they really enjoy.
Your kids look up to you, so set the standard by example and don’t obsess over the latest and greatest things, or your children will too. Expressing gratitude for family and the little things we tend to take for granted will illustrate to your child that their possessions aren’t what truly matters and in turn strengthen your family bond. In turn, your child will learn that they don’t have to have everything their friends do and that they can build relationships based on similar interests, support, and trust.
4. Start a Family Gratitude Journal
On the subject of gratitude for what you have, begin a gratitude journal practice to help strengthen your family bond. By making gratitude journaling a practice and not just a conversation, you’ll help your family have a written record of what they’re grateful for when they need it most – when they’re unhappy, angry, or sad. For your children, this is a great practice to help them work on writing skills, verbalizing emotions, and develop a positive outlook.
According to Mind Valley blog, you can create a gratitude journal practice in 5 easy steps:
1. Choose a journal carefully – pick a journal/notebook that everyone is excited to use. Or have everyone pick their own journal and pick out one basket to store them all in.
2. Create a ritual or habit – have everyone sit down together to a journal before a meal or right before bed. Make this practice part of other everyday routines to make it stick.
3. Write what you’re grateful for – anything! No matter how big or small!
4. Celebrate quality over quantity – having a long list of what you’re grateful for each day isn’t the point. This practice is about focusing in on something, no matter how big or small.
5. Journal at the end of the day – this is one option that can help your whole family end the day on a positive note and help everyone head to bed looking forward to the next day.
5. Take Tech Timeouts
Technology can be an amazing tool to bring families together. Cell phones help keep us in touch when we’re apart, streaming services bring family-friendly entertainment at the touch of a button, and a small robot vacuum can help taking vacuuming off of our family chore list. But, there are times when we need to unplug and engage with each other instead of with our screens. To help your children learn to have time away from their devices, institute tech timeouts in your house.
Mealtimes can also be a perfect time to ban using devices. Before sitting down together at the table, ask everyone to turn the volume off of their devices and leave them in the other room. It’s a great time to hook them up to their charger in another room too! Teaching your child when to be on their device and when not to will help them display these good manners when they’re at someone else’s home or out for a meal.
Another great tech timeout is before bed. There are studies that show how blue light affects sleep patterns, so adjust your devices to have the blue lights off or turned down and it’s a good idea to have your children turn their devices off and spend time reading or playing right before bed.
There are so many ways to spend quality time as a family. They don’t need to be expensive materials or fancy trips. You learn a lot of valuable lessons such as listening and working together. Be present bothmentally and physically to ensure that you are successful to strengthen your family bond.
Categorised in: Relationship