Family time is sacred. But it doesn’t have to be scarce.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of modern day living, family time all too frequently takes a backseat in the face of other, often more trivial day-to-day activities.
But strengthening family bonds doesn’t have to mean “down tools” and hastily taking a family trip or vacation (though if this blog has inspired you to do just that, go easy on the haste. You want to strengthen rather then warp family relations). There are many small changes you can make to help build and strengthen family bonds from the comfort of your own home, day-in, day-out.
But if, like me, time is limited, then don’t worry. You can easily strengthen family bonds and grow closer together with these seven routines. These activities are easy to incorporate into your daily routines and can be adjusted to fit the needs of your family. And you don’t need to practice them all to see results. Go ahead, give them a whirl!
1. Find simple things
It’s not easy to find time to spend together as a family, but you can create routines that help. Look at your schedule and find time to add simple rituals for when you’re together.
- Enjoy jokes and tell stories at dinner.
- For our budding vocalists, sing a song or hum a tune together.
- If you enjoy books, read together as a family.
- And depending on your beliefs, say a prayer or share a poem together before bed.
2. Enjoy breakfast
Mornings can be a hectic times as everyone scrambles to get ready for school or work. But breakfast is an easy opportunity to eat together.
- It may be tempting to let everyone grab a quick breakfast and rush out the door, but you’re missing the chance to spend time together as a family and create a simple routine.
- Breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated. Prepare easy items such as smoothies or cereal the night before so when you family wakes, you can encourage them to eat together.
You may have to adjust your family’s morning schedule a little for this routine, but you’ll be creating quality time together which will put you in a sound state of mind for the day ahead.
3. Send lunch box notes
Just because breakfast is over doesn’t mean the family bonding has to stop. Simple rituals such as lunch box notes for every member of the family can help you bond.
- Children and adults alike will enjoy receiving notes in their lunches. Use small note cards or sticky notes and write an encouraging message. You can also draw pictures or include jokes.
- Vary it up. Have different family members write notes for one another. And don’t do it every day! Alternate the days of the week you post notes to help keep things fresh.
Lunch box notes can become a family tradition that lasts for years. And as your kids grow older, you could replace notes with text messages or even emails (though it’s not quite the same).
4. Do chores together
But chores are a necessary (if sometimes tedious) part of everyday life. And when everyone pulls their weight, chores feel that little bit easier, even fun! And they are a great excuse to bring the family together. You can work as a team on one task (e.g. raking leaves) or tackle a mini-project (e.g. cleaning out the garage). When working on a project, give everyone different responsibilities.
For more on chores, read our blog: Changing the Dialogue on Chores.
5. Create a secret family handshake
Invent a special handshake that only you and your family knows. The dafter the better! Do it at home and, if you’re really brave, at opportune moments out and about too! You can even modify your secret family handshake from week to week. Whoever forgets it has to do a forfeit! You’ll strengthen bonds with your loved ones each and every time you use it together.
6. Have a family dinner
Try to make time for a family dinner together at least once a week. You can make it even more special by using the fancy china! And for those families who struggle to get everyone together in the busy working week, make time for a family dinner at weekends.
7. Make family nights special
If you don’t have a family night, make one up! You can vary the type or theme of your family night from week to week or even day to day!
- Have a movie night. Just remember to have the popcorn and candy at the ready to make the evening extra special. You can even rearrange the furniture for that movie theatre feel!
- Have a takeaway night (though maybe not every week). Let members of the family take it in turn to choose what you’ll be eating and be sure to sit together and eat as a family.
- Have a games night. Games are a simple way to reconnect with your loved ones, and they can fill an entire evening with laughter. Very it up from week to week.
This one is more project than routine but we thought we’d share it for good measure.
Arts and craft, model building, even train sets! All make fantastic mini-projects you can work on as a family. Remember to get everyone involved with different tasks and responsibilities. And you can have members of the family take it in turn to choose what you’ll be creating! Once done, you’ll have something tangible to remind you of all your hard efforts.
Help your family bond by creating simple routines and rituals. These routines can quickly become family traditions and create cherished memories that last a lifetime.
Do you have any great ideas for strengthening daily family bonds? Post your ideas in the comments below.