As a parent, it is your responsibility not only to take good care of your kids, but to ensure that you spend lots of time with them building a strong bond that will ensure that, should your kids be dealing with any serious issues, they will feel confident that they can talk to you about anything. One of the easiest ways to do this is by scheduling regular family activities, where you can all have fun together while laughing, playing and talking.
Here are some of the best family activities to bring your family closer together:
If you can’t have a family dinner around the table every night, and this can be difficult if you or your spouse work long hours and the kids are enrolled in extracurricular activities, at least schedule a couple of nights when you can get around the table each week.
When you’re all enjoying a home cooked meal around the table, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask the kids about their day, hash out any problems and generally just enjoy some pleasant time together. Families who eat dinner together often, tend to be happier and closer than those who do not, so make a real effort to incorporate this into your life.
You might be wondering what I’ve included Tv time on the list. Watching TV often gets a bad wrap. Some people will say that it causes families to become more distant, and less inclined to talk to each other, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have decent cable and on-demand services from Optimum, for example, you can pick out a couple of shows that have family appeal and which feature a range of issues you might want to broach with the kids. For example, if you want to talk about mental health and suicide with your teenager, sitting down to watch 13 Reasons Why together could be a good way to broach the subject. The key is to limit TV time and encourage the watching of shows to be a family thing, not a solitary pursuit.
Organize a Camping Trip
Spending some time in the Great Outdoors as a family is undoubtedly one of the best ways to do some serious family bonding. For a period of time, you’re taken away from your normal lives and the myriad gadgets that keep you from spending quality time together, which means you have to entertain yourselves. You can do this by swapping family stories, telling tall tales and asking your kids about their aspirations. It’s sure to be a very illuminating time that will give them memories to treasure forever.
Have a Games Night
Game nights might seem a little quaint in the internet age, but there’s nothing quite like gathering around the dinner table to play a game of Monopoly or Settlers of Catan to bring the whole family together for some wholesome fun. If you struggle to convince the kids, there are no reasons why you can’t throw some console games into the mix, just prepare to be thrashed!
Encouraging your kids to read more will only ever be to their benefit, and enjoying trips to the library together is a great way for the whole family to bond. You can discuss books you loved and hated, read favorite passages to each other, and as with Tv watching, you can use books to bring up those topics that might otherwise be awkward to discuss.
Investing in a video camera is a great way to get closer as a family. Not only will you be able to document all of the important milestones in family life, but you can encourage the kids to talk to grandma and grandpa about their life experiences, on film, bringing them closer together and fostering a greater appreciation for the extended family. You’ll all have lots of fun watching the videos back too.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and something that all children should be encouraged to do. If they have a particular passion, whether it’s for rescue animals or the environment, see if there’s a local related non-profit that you could volunteer for as a family. They’ll appreciate the effort you’re making to know more about their passions, and even more that you’re willing to help.
In a similar vein, if your children are interested in learning a new hobby, such as karate, knitting or painting, instead of simply paying for them to have classes, why not go along too? Having at least one interest in common will definitely make it easier for you to relate to each other and you’ll probably increase your cool parent rating by at least 30 points if you show a genuine interest in doing something your kids love.
Start a Tradition
Your family probably had a few traditions, like baking cookies every Saturday or going out for dinner with your grandparents on the last Sunday of the month. Why not start a new tradition just for your family; something that you’ll all enjoy now and which you’ll look back on with fondness in years to come. It can be something simple like a family walk through the park after Sunday brunch; it doesn’t matter as long as it brings as many members of the family together as possible.
Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are a great way to enjoy family time together because, not only do you get to spend some quality time as a family, but you teach your kids about the importance of sharing, being kind and looking after your fellow man. Acts of kindness can be as simple as helping an elderly person cross the road, or something a bit more involved like crafting cards and gifts to be given anonymously to neighbors.
Whether you spend your time playing, laughing or eating together, what really matters is that you are taking the time and effort to actually do things together. Spending quality time together as a family is the best possible thing you can do for their children to give them a happy childhood now and a bright future.