Are you eager to find fun ways to strengthen your family bonds?
This is a huge challenge for parents today. Life is so busy and stressful – marathon to-do lists with work demands, kids hectic school and sports schedules, chores to maintain the home, social commitments – all combine to make family bonding difficult.
It gets 10x harder when your little darlings become teenagers. Staying connected then takes on the proportion of a complex unsolvable equation.
Social media and your teens need to hang out more with their friends than with the family also makes growing strong family bonds almost impossible.
So, just how do you find ways to strengthen your family relationships?
First, let’s take a look at why you should value your family.
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Here’s a handy worksheet that can help you start engaging with your kids (especially moody teens).
Just click the graphic, download it and get started with the process to grow lasting family bonds.
WHY FAMILY IS IMPORTANT
In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony. Friedrich Nietzsche
Ever gulped an ice-cold drink on a raging hot day? You know how it soothes the dryness of your throat and mouth? How it acts almost like a balm of comfort?
Being part of a loving family is just like that. It gives you:
- A sense of belonging and identity
- A safety net to catch you in times of trouble
- A strong value system
- Support and encouragement in all that you do
- Acceptance as you are warts and all
Here are a few amazing books to read to help you up your parenting game. Shop now:
HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR FAMILY BONDS
So just how do you nurture and nourish your family bonds?
This post gives you 15 simple habits to strengthen your family relationships.
Ready? Let’s dive right in.
1. CREATE A FAMILY VISION BOARD
If you’re in need of a fun quick fix on how to strengthen family bonds, the answer lies in creating a family vision board.
A family vision board is a visual portrayal of your family’s goals and dreams. See the example below.
Pictures, quotes, inspiring messages, photos, symbols, lines from songs, mementoes etc are handpicked and creatively arranged on poster board and hung up on the living room or kitchen wall.
To create a family vision board which pops and commands your attention on a daily basis, you need to have a range of art, craft and design supplies on hand.
These products are just perfect to help you come up with an awesome family vision board.
The family vision board inspires you to visualize your family goals every time you see it. This, in turn, urges you on a day to day basis to strive to make those dreams and goals a reality.
Posterboard is often used for vision boards but you can also frame it in really trendy frames to add to your decor. Here are some for you to consider:
The simple act of creating a family vision board together evokes:
A family vision board is a powerful tool to secure lasting bonds with your kids.
2. DESIGN A FAMILY MOTTO
Ever heard ‘The family that prays together stays together’ ’? That is an example of a motto.
A family motto is a great way to make your kids feel that they are part of an exclusive club with inside jokes and rules only you know. It definitely builds family loyalty and unity.
Get together as a family and brainstorm a short catchy slogan that sums up your family ideals.
Lovetoknow.com gives the following examples:
• United and growing
• Family always
• United we stand
A family motto is a great way to strengthen family bonds.
3. MAKE YOUR HOME A SANCTUARY
Here’s the thing – you have the family vision board which looks delightful in its rustic frame.
You need to now create a positive vibe in your home not win a photoshoot with House magazine.
As a family, make a decor plan :
• Choose calming colours for paint and furnishings
• Personalize with family pictures and the kids’ drawings
• Plant a garden of perennials that flower throughout the year
• Decorate bedrooms to suit the personality of each child
Poring over decor magazines or visiting home decor stores to build the right look for your home presents a unique bonding opportunity for your family.
Add to your family memory bank as you work together to make your home a zone of peace and beauty.
Sounds good so far, doesn’t it?
4. SOFT SWEET COMMUNICATION
The family vision board and the serene atmosphere in the home makes you feel good, doesn’t it?
But all this would be in vain if your home is a war zone. If there is resentment and anger in your interaction with one another. If all of you scream and shout and rant and rave.
Rock-solid relationships are often dependent on the quality of communication with one another.
During family discussions:
• Practice active listening
• Make eye contact
• Don’t check Emails or Facebook
• Allow for other viewpoints
• Give support and encouragement
• Show love and affection
Of course, there will be times of trouble and conflict. But these should be infrequent rather than the norm.
The goal is to have a home rich in love, understanding and kindness. A home you look forward to coming to all day while at work or school.
Develop the idea in your kids that home is a place of fun and happiness. That it’s ok to want to hang out at home with the family.
5. COOK TOGETHER DAILY
Is there chaos in your home come dinner – time?
Not enough time to cook so you resort to tasteless take – out?
If this is you, you’re missing out big time on a golden bonding opportunity.
World-famous British chef Jamie Oliver says:
I wholeheartedly believe that cooking is up there as one of the
most valuable skills you can teach a child, right alongside reading and writing.
Cooking the evening meal together as a family on daily basis models for your teen the importance of home and family life.
Your family is a team, and when you cook together a team effort is needed – from menu planning, buying ingredients, meal prep and marinades.
As you chop and dice, stir and season, a camaraderie grows that makes your family a stronger unit. Family recipes are passed to the next generation and memories recalled of when particular dishes were made.
• a varied, healthy diet
• understanding of good nutrition
• skills such as planning and organization
• interest in different cuisines
• an adventurous palate
Why not use cooking the evening meal to connect with your teen?
6. BUILD HEALTHY HABITS
It’s vital to develop a list of healthy habits for your family to follow.
Encourage a healthy diet, exercise and spending time outdoors from a young age. The benefits are immeasurable:
- Boosts immunity
- Ensures physical fitness
- Wards off disease
- Improves general well being
Encourages a positive mindset
Schedule family bonding activities every weekend. It can be as simple as a walk in the park or starting a new hobby like hiking or cycling.
Family bonding is guaranteed in the hours spent outdoors free of tech devices and the lure of the internet.
For more information on how to create a list of good habits for your family to follow, check out this post.
7. FAMILY MEETINGS
Family meetings are an essential parenting tool to embrace. Think of them as a family date to organize life for the week ahead.
Family meetings give you an opportunity to connect at a fixed time. They are a great way to cheer successes and give support and encouragement for what did not go well.
The biggest bonus is that everyone gets the chance to air their views. If you have teens, you could discuss teen issues like curfews, dating and cell phone rules and much more.
Family meetings are also a chance to synchronize all the school, sports, work and social events for the week. Some busy moms even use family meetings to plan their menus for the week.
For more information on how to make family meetings work for you, check out Winning tactics for family meetings you need to know.
8. FAMILY TRADITIONS
Family traditions serve multiple functions. They:
• Strengthen family bonds
• Teach values
• Give a sense of identity and belonging
• Offer stability and security
This is a game-changer for your family dynamics.
Together with your kids draw up a list of family traditions to follow. These are especially important if you’re raising teenagers.
It’s one way of making them realize that the family will always love, understand and support them no matter the issue.
Get started with themed days like a Movie day, Pizza night, Fun in the Park Sundays, Breakfast at the beach Saturdays.
It’s a good idea to start the habit of healthy lifestyle choices with outdoor family traditions too like a family walk after dinner.
You could also start simple traditions with each child. For example a late-night snack with your teen or a yoga workout with your middle schooler.
For more ideas on family traditions, read 10 Awesome family traditions to start right now.
Get this helpful worksheet to get to know your kids better.
Just click the graphic, download it and get started with the process to grow lasting family bonds.
It takes time and effort to ensure a family functions efficiently.
Your teenagers may hate chores but this is a wonderful opportunity to empower rather than enable them.
Encourage everyone to do their chores at the same time so that it becomes a family bonding activity.
A great idea is to match chores to interests. For example, if your teen is a tech wiz, give him the job of finding the best deals for your weekly shop and to order them online.
Chores teach responsibility and discipline and are a winning way to learn essential life skills to manage a home.
10. FAMILY DINNERS
The Washington Post states in this article that
sitting down for a nightly meal is great for the brain, the body and the spirit.
The family evening meal is important. It is a special time when you get to share the highs and lows of your day with one another. It reinforces the feeling of belonging.
But life is busy and you may find it difficult to have dinner together every day. Shift your family meal to breakfast or make afternoon tea your special mealtime.
If you can only have family meals together at the weekends, do it but make family meals not negotiable. The benefits of family meals are too numerous to ignore.
Children who have regular family meals:
• learn good manners
• extend their vocabulary
• have good conversation skills
• eat healthily and are unlikely to have weight issues.
Family meals help to create confident kids who excel at school and are emotionally well adjusted.
Teenagers are also less likely to take to risky behaviors like drinking and drugging.
11. DEVELOP AN ADVENTUROUS MINDSET
Rev the excitement factor with something your family has not ever done.
One way is to go exploring. You’ve all seen them – tourists rubber-stamped with sunglasses, camera, behind a tour guide chattering excitedly and smiling broadly as they visit a tourist spot in your city.
Why not copy them? Start small and local. Be a tourist for a day and get to know the history and attractions of your city. Visit your local tourist centre and pick up maps and brochures. Then have a family meeting and plan a day visiting local interesting spots.
Then visit neighboring cities and states and eventually try an overseas holiday.
What’s in it for you and your family?
• Shared pleasure and enjoyment
• The satisfaction of family bonding
• Meeting new people
It gives you as a parent a unique view of your teen’s strengths and weaknesses.
For example, you may find out that your teen’s tech ability gets you from one tourist spot to the next without getting lost.
Or that he is sociable and not shy. That all he had to do was ask, ‘ Where are you from? ’ to get a conversation going.
You may decide after being a tourist for a day to plan a road trip or a vacation overseas.
Worth a try with your family, don’t you think? Think about the boost for the memory bank and just go for it.
12. QUALITY FAMILY TIME
This is one of the most important ways to grow strong family bonds. Place emphasis on doing simple things to have fun together.
But kids being kids love to outside so find fun outdoor activities to do. Flying a kite, for example, has many advantages.
Create a calendar of fun activities you can do together. So everyone knows what’s in store for them. So they know Sundays are for a cookout and they look forward to it.
Have a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, so if bad weather calls the family picnic in the park off, you can swap it for a tea party or board games.
If you need inspiration for fun family activities, you can get them here.
13.VOLUNTEER AS A FAMILY
Nothing encourages personal values better than volunteering as a family. It builds identity and belonging right off the bat.
Your kids get to see you in a new environment so they get the chance to appraise your strengths and weaknesses.
Similarly, you see how sociable little Johnny is or how good Betty is with babies. Be selective about volunteering as you don’t want the kids to feel it’s one more chore they have to do.
Start with their interests. So if they love animals, volunteer at an animal clinic. If they are tech-savvy, help to teach non-techy people about their devices.
You will see your kids grow in empathy, kindness and generosity to name a just a few values.
14. LAUGH TOGETHER
There’s so much stress and difficulties in life today. A great idea is to build more laughter into every day.
Brainstorm the times in the day when everyone needs some comic relief and come up with a laughter list.
Some ideas to get the giggles going:
- One-liners at breakfast
- When dinner is being prepared
Funny YouTube videos after dinner
This is sure to add to the sense of identity and belonging unique to your family.
15. CREATE A COMMUNITY
Do you see Aunt Mary or cousin Ben only at the annual Christmas party? I’m sure your kids get grouchy with these once-a-year relatives.
This is due to the hectic pace of your life today. We’re too busy to reach out to anyone but those in our immediate families.
Why not change things around so your kids can grow up with a spider web of loving support and encouragement from a loving community.
Stay with me, now.
You need to weave a strong rope from the current feeble threads. Build a close-knit group of family members, close friends and neighbors by starting a few simple traditions:
- Potluck meals
- Team Quizzes
- Game evenings
- Movie nights
- Sleepovers for big sporting events
- Backyard barbecues
These events give you the opportunity to have fun and grow closer as a family. They make a wonderful addition to the memory bank.
So, it’s time to stop being a worrywart and take action.
Give 100% to growing your family into a sturdy oak that can withstand the strongest of storms.
Follow this simple action plan to build rock-solid family bonds
– Create a family motto
– Make a family vision board
– Transform your home into a haven
– Communicate effectively
– Develop healthy lifestyle habits
– Have regular family meetings
– Do family volunteering
– Do chores together
– Start new family traditions
– Cook the evening meal together when you can
– Eat dinner together daily as often as you can
– Build an adventurous mindset
– Spend quality family time together
– Laugh together
– Create a community
Do you have any tips to share on ways to strengthen family relationships?
Let me know in the comments below.