Spending time together is one of the most significant gifts families can give each other. Not only does spending quality time build and strengthen family bonds, but it also provides a sense of security and belonging for everyone in the family. Research indicates that when families enjoy activities, children learn essential social skills and have higher self-esteem.
Strong familial bonds also encourage better behavior in children, strengthen parent-child communication, improve academic performance, and teach your child how to be a good friend. As a parent, you play a crucial role in protecting and cultivating these family bonds. In our chaotic day-to-day lives, carving out time for your family can be challenging. If you want to make this firm foundation a reality for your family, here are some ways to ensure your family stays close.
Schedule family time.
Whether you have teens or school-aged children, ensuring you’re getting enough quality time together takes time. Look at everyone’s schedule to see if any blocks of time can be set aside for family time. You could choose a regular night, perhaps once a week, when the family gets together for a fun activity. By keeping this night on your schedule, everyone will know they must keep it clear for family time.
Another way to integrate family time into your schedule is to plan regular day trips. If this sounds fun for your family, you could try to plan the trip at least one month in advance. You could put it on the family calendar and ensure everyone knows about the plan. You could also use your time together to create family traditions, like picking fresh strawberries in the summer or carving pumpkins every Halloween. Some families like attending the same local festival yearly or entering a 5K run or walk together.
Eat meals together.
Choose a couple of nights during the week when you require everyone to gather around the dinner table. Don’t allow electronics or phones, and simply eat a meal and converse with each other. Studies indicate that eating meals together positively affects children’s mental and physical well-being. It can also strengthen family bonds and reinforce communication. Try breakfast if you can’t get together for dinner as a family due to busy schedules. The key is to gather together and enjoy a meal free from distractions.
Do chores together.
Make caring for your yard or cleaning your home a family responsibility. Make a chores list and let everyone sign up, then schedule a time during the week or on the weekend when the family can do their chores simultaneously. If your teens need a little more flexibility due to a demanding schedule, give them a deadline to complete their chores, but remind them that doing chores together makes the job go by faster than doing them alone.
Moreover, doing chores together can foster teamwork, especially if someone finishes early and is willing to help another family member finish their tasks. To make doing chores more fulfilling, plan a small reward for when the work is done, like watching a movie, getting ice cream together, or playing a board game.
Create a family mission statement.
Most parents think of non-profit businesses and organizations when they think about mission statements, but these documents work well for families, too. It may seem too business-like or a little corny, but putting together a family mission statement can help determine your family’s main concerns. A family mission statement can remind everybody about your family’s fundamental values or what you love about each other. It’s fun and simple to develop as a family, making it an excellent project for family night.
Your statement doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy. Something like “ We love and help each other in our family” is enough, but if the kids want to brainstorm a lengthy list, let them. Once finished, display your mission statement in a place where everyone will see it. You can refer to it, read it, and discuss it often. It helps solidify what’s essential to your family.
Have family meetings.
Family meetings are an excellent time for everyone to air grievances, check in with each other, or discuss plans. For example, a family meeting is an excellent time to discuss a family vacation, an upcoming day trip, or how you plan to complete chores next weekend. These meetings can be scheduled on your family calendar, or you can make them spontaneous and let any family member call a meeting if they feel it’s necessary. Family meetings can also be used to determine family goals.
You can start these meetings by reading your family mission statement. If you have a big family, ask if anyone has a problem or an agenda item. Jot down what everyone wants to discuss and go through them individually. You could also establish some rules for the meeting, like implementing a “no talking” rule when someone has the floor or setting a time limit for each agenda item.
Feeling supported by your family is one of the most essential elements of building robust family bonds. Bonds like these will last your children a lifetime. To create a sense of support, encourage your family to learn what’s essential to their family members and to do their best to support each other through the good and challenging times. Everyone in the family should feel encouraged to share the good and bad news and receive a loving reaction.
The objective is for everyone in the family to rejoice when things go well and be supported when things don’t go as planned. When families feel supported, it’s easier to get through challenging times.
When family is a critical part of everyday life, everyone also requires downtime. Not only should you encourage your children to spend some quiet time alone to recharge, but you should also take some time for yourself. Parenting is a big responsibility that can take a toll on you. As a result, you should never feel guilty for taking a break.
Remember that your teens and children learn by example. The best way to set a positive example for them is by putting a high value on family. When you set aside time for family activities and fun, you’re showing that you value the family and your children.