Quality time is sacred in terms of building stronger family bonds, but it can be scarce. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of daily living, family time often takes a backseat to make way for trivial activities.
Fortunately, strengthening family bonds doesn’t require sacrificing a huge chunk of time to take a vacation or a trip. Big trips aren’t the only way to make time for the family. Instead, you can strengthen family bonds from the comfort of your home with many small changes.
These changes require patience and determination. Whether it’s practicing knitting with Lori Holt Fabric or teaching older family members how to embed a YouTube video on Twitter, you have to be with the family physically, mentally and emotionally. These activities are easy to incorporate into your daily routines and can be adjusted accordingly to your family’s needs.
Consider practicing the following to build stronger family bonds.
Schedule Family Time
Whether you have school-age children or kids in their late twenties, it takes planning to schedule family time since everyone has something to do. Some ways you can do this:
- Set aside time. Check everyone’s schedule for blocks of free time they can designate for the family. Try to select a regular night (maybe once or twice a week) where the family sets aside other activities and get together to bond. The activities can vary: game night, family cook-off, movie night or a special dinner.
- Plan small trips together. Plan small vacations. If your family loves traveling, try to plan a trip at least a month in advance. It doesn’t have to be an out of the country trip. It can be a visit to the local zoo or a staycation in a nearby hotel. Post the trip on the family calendar and make sure everyone knows about the plan.
- Create and maintain new traditions. Use this time to make new family traditions like harvesting strawberries during the summer or a themed-party every Christmas. Some families enjoy participating in fun runs or enjoying local festivals every year.
Do Chores Together
Cleaning your home should be a responsibility for the whole family. Create a list of chores and encourage all members to sign up. Then schedule a time during the week or on the weekend when everyone can do their chores at the same time.
If your teenagers have a demanding school schedule and require more flexibility, give them a deadline to complete their chores. But encourage them to finish their chores with the family, if they have time.
Apart from maintaining the cleanliness of the house, doing chores together fosters a sense of teamwork, especially if one member finishes their task early. They can help other family members with their chores. To make the tasks more rewarding, plan a small reward for when everyone finishes their work, such as watching a movie, getting ice cream together or playing video games.
Eat Meals Together
Studies have shown that eating meals together improves a child’s physical and mental well-being. It can also strengthen family bonds by reinforcing communication.
As much as possible, eat your dinner together. If this isn’t possible, choose a few nights during the week, when everyone should gather around the dinner table to eat. Phones or other electronics should not be allowed during dinner to foster meaningful conversations. Just enjoy the food and each other’s company.
If you are unable to enjoy dinner together due to busy schedules, have breakfast together. The key is to get everyone together for a meal.
Have Family Meetings
Family meetings are a good time to know the status of each member. Use it to check in with each other, express concerns, air grievances and plan future family activities. Be intentional with asking everyone how they’re doing. Also, take notes of everyone’s concerns and address all of them.
You may need to establish some guidelines for the meeting. For example, remind each member not to talk when someone else is speaking. Also, set a time limit for each agenda so you can process all the family’s concerns. Finally, emphasize the need to be considerate, kind and respectful.
These meetings can be scheduled events or impromptu moments. Any member of the family should be allowed to call a meeting if they want to.
Feeling supported by the family is an important element in establishing stronger family ties. Affirmation and encouragement go a long way in building your kids’ trust and love for the family.
To create a sense of support, encourage all family members to support each other through the bad and the good times. Everyone should offer encouragement to a member who is struggling with their tasks, emotions and more.
Your family is your most important asset. Investing more time in them is the best gift you can give them. Strengthen family bonds by making your family a priority.