When my kids were younger I felt like I had more time to devote to each little step forward. As they grew life seemed to go faster and faster! It felt harder to keep an eye on the big picture of what I wanted for my children when I was just focusing on what had to be done for that day! As a blended family, Country Boy and I knew we were going to have to make strengthening our family bond a priority. Otherwise we were in real danger of acting separately from one another and not as a cohesive group. And at the end of the day, what matters most to us is not the to do list, but the relationships within our family and the character of our children. Here are 10 healthy habits to strengthen your family bond that we found benefited our family.
The nice thing about habits is that they will run on automatic once we put them into place. So even with all the activities and events going on in life, your good habits will continue to work for you! Try introducing and reinforcing one new one into your family for the next two months.
10 Healthy Habits to Strengthen Your Family Bond
Share Your Dreams and Goals with your Family
Parents, what are you excited about right now? What are you working on accomplishing? What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years? Family should be a safe place where we can talk about and find support for our dreams. So set the stage and begin sharing with your children.
Ask your kids what they are dreaming about! See if you can help them connect and get started on working toward their big goals today!
2. Give every Family Member a Job and Some Authority
Children will not be invested in the family if they don’t feel like their membership is vital. It would be like you showing up to work everyday and no one ever wanted your opinion or noticed your progress. When we give our kids jobs (chores) we are letting them know that their help is vital to the success of the whole family. And we can add a little good stress by letting them know that they are in charge of that job. They have some authority to make small decisions within that job. If they don’t step in and get it done it will affect the whole family. Example: the trash will continue to pile up if they don’t take it out:)
As children become older we begin to see their special gifting. Put it to good use! One of our boys enjoys cooking so I had him help me extra in the kitchen. Our other son we refer to as “tech support”. He knows that we are counting on him to get any technical jobs done.
3. Plan Trips Together
Trying to get everyone out of the house at the same time takes strategy! And sometimes what feels like a small miracle. Taking day trips and vacations not only gives the family time together, but it does take planning. Pull the whole family into helping.
Our family enjoys camping and it takes everyone hauling the camping gear out of the house and setting up at the campground to get the job done. Growing up our boys were also in charge of helping with building the fires and hauling water. Little Red and I make sure the “kitchen” is organized. And Country Boy takes the lead on all the awesome campfire meals!
4. Connect in with One Another during the Day
Make it a habit to check in with each other throughout the day whether that be simple notes in your kids lunchbox, calls or texts.
5. Share Meals Together
Finding a time to all sit down together can be challenging. But it is a great practice to stop and sit down together for a meal. There is no agenda other than just hearing how everyone is doing.
In the groups I teach I have noticed a growing trend where some teens are “requiring” special meals. You heard me, not the toddlers, the teens! This adds additional burden on the budget shopping at only specialty stores and often additional time in the kitchen for mom. I totally get making meals that you know your family will enjoy. However, when meal time becomes so complicated we can’t even eat together then we may want to revisit our practices.
6. Give Respect
Give respect by training through example and discipline. Try to avoid nit picking, threats and blow-ups to “guide” children. It does take more time and effort to train your kids how to do things, but it instills the idea that they are a valued member of the family!
And respect seems to be a hot button for most teens. As they become older most teens want to feel like they are being talked to as a young adult and not a little kid.
Also when the adults in the family show respect to one another it pays off with big dividends. It sets the tone for the whole family, and typically the kids will follow the lead.
7. Family Night
Enjoy hanging out together by having a family night. Watch a movie, have a game night or do whatever it is that your family loves to do!
If your house is the home where the friends all hang out that is great. There are a lot of teens that need a safe place to be. But it’s OK to tell the friends that it’s “family night” and you will see them all tomorrow:) Setting boundaries to strengthen your family is a good thing!
8. Make it Safe to Share
Home should be a place where we can be ourselves. So make it safe to share and talk about feelings.
Avoid ridiculing, constantly reminding of past failures or allowing one person to dominate the tone of the whole household.
9. Show Gratitude
Talk about something you’re thankful for each day with your children. I know I can get so focused on the to-do list or what is going wrong. It takes a lot more effort to say something I’m thankful for. But if I want my kids to appreciate all they have and have a home that feels warm and peaceful, then I have to stop and be grateful.
10. Guide with the End in Mind
As we make decisions for our family we should keep the end in mind. When our kids leave home, and we look back at these parenting years what will matter most?
There are so many great opportunities for us and for our kids, but we can’t do them all. We face a lot of tough decisions as parents weighing out all the activities. Though an endeavor may be a great option for us or for one of our kids, will the cost to our family time be too great?
So these are 10 healthy habits to strengthen your family bond that we have tried. Does your family have a habit that builds relationship in your family? What is your favorite family vacation site? Leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!
Also you might enjoy the post here on 6 Simple Ways to Encourage Teens to Discover Their Interests!