By Jennifer Chung, Kinsights.com
Today’s families are busy. Schedules are filled with work, school, after-school activities, community service, doctor’s appointments, and more. It can be challenging to find quality family time and increase bonding between family members. Building a family that supports and encourages one another takes energy and time. Try these tips to strengthen the bonds within your family.
- Be kind to one another. Kids learn through experiences and modeling. Show acts of kindness in everyday life like opening the door for someone, putting away dishes without being asked or by hugging mom or dad when he or she gets home from work.
- Eat dinner together. Meal time is an excellent place to share your day with your family. The dinner table should be a time where open communication takes place. Congratulate each other on accomplishments and encourage those who had a bad day. Kids who regularly eat meals with their family have higher academic scores and reduced use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs use.
- Experience life together. Do things as a family. Go for a hike, bike ride or attend a concert. Kids who participate in activities with their family have a higher sense of belonging and higher self-esteem.
- Enjoy a family game night. Invite friends over for a potluck. Play interactive games with the kids. Make up teams of boys against girls or kids against parents, and promote friendly competition. Surrounding your family with like-minded families promotes community.
- Laugh. Laughter is good for the soul. Share a funny video or story with your kids just to hear them laugh. Encourage your kids to share stories that make them laugh. Laughing reduces stress and stimulates your immune system.
- Travel. Plan a trip together as a family. Choose a destination for your adventure that offers something fun for everyone. Experience new things like foods, culture or activities. If you’re on a budget, plan a camping trip.
- Show appreciation. A simple “thank-you” goes a long way. Showing appreciation of family members makes them feel valuable. Surprise a family member with a note of gratitude for things they do that make your life more enjoyable.
- Try new things. Trying new things can be scary at first. Doing it as a family can reduce fear and promote courage to try new things like going on a roller coaster ride, or taking an art class.
- Volunteer as a family. Serving in your community to help others makes kids feel more connected and socially adept. Caring for those who are less fortunate teaches compassion and empathy for others.
- Give compliments. Make it a daily practice to say something kind to each person in your family.
Strong families teach us how to function in the world. They provide us with warmth and support to celebrate achievements and to provide comfort during rough spots in the road. Turn off the television and spend time communicating with those you love most. Spending time interacting with members of your family strengthens bonds, builds character and improves self-esteem. Kids thrive where they feel loved. Invest in those who mean the most to you.
About Jennifer Chung & Kinsights:
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at www.kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).