The importance of strong family bonding - introduce family time into your home
Strong family bonds breed success
We live in a fast paced world.
Whilst we need to embrace change and progression, let's not forget the importance of family time and family bonding.
As parents, it is important that we take time ' to smell the roses ' and take time out of our hectic schedules to be with our families. This can include any number of activities, but some of most highly regarded ones include taking time to eat as a family, play together, both indoors and outside, read and talk together, teach children that they matter, that relationships are worth nurturing and that strong family bonds breed success.
So how do we do this? It is all about setting aside blocks of time, allocated for family time. Yes this can be an extremely difficult exercise for busy families but it can be achieved.
Family time is a necessity for those wishing to build happy and healthy families.
Importance of Family Bonding
Family time is precious, valuable time, when parents take time out to
- Observe their children
- Follow their children
- Listen, and really hear their children
- Hug and kiss them, encourage them, guide them, and laugh with them.
A family that plays together stays together
The school bell has rung, it's knock-off time at work and the hustle and bustle begins. By the time everyone is home from work, school, after-school sports, and other extra curricular activities, everyone is tired.
It is time for homework, dinner, and bed.
So how do we play? Play, at this time of the day?
Playing a board game seems like the least important thing to do, however playing a board game, metaphorically, is the most important item to cross off our daily to-do list.
Get Children Involved
How often do we hear that children won't sit still at the dinner table? Or they won't eat. Toddlers especially are fussy eaters. Have you ever thought about getting them involved in:
- The meal planning
- The meal preparation.
- Setting the table.
- The clean-up.
Turn off the Idiot Box
There is no doubt that watching television or a movie with the family is enjoyable, however it does not really qualify as family time.
It is time to turn off the idiot box, the television, and place the focus on the people in the house instead of the strangers looking back at you on the screen.
The evening hours spent interacting as a family instead of staring at the television will benefit everyone greatly and will help create warm and lasting memories.
Family Time Eating Together
The family activity that arguably has the greatest positive impact on children is sitting down together to eat dinner.
The benefits for children (and parents too) can include:
- Learning patience - all members of the family sit to eat and remain at the table until everyone is finished.
- Sitting quietly and calmly - taking time out to really listen attentively to each other, understanding what each other is going through and participating.
If you live in a crazy household with lots going on, sometimes a nightly family dinner just is not feasible.
That does not mean it should be forgotten all together.
Even if your children have all grown up and left the nest, you can still make time to organise a weekly family meal. Maybe a Sunday regular evening meal.
As odd as it sounds, schedule it in. Catch up on the week's activities, talk through daily news, and enjoy each other's company.
- Get the younger children to help set the table, or
- Ask family members to be involved by 'bringing a plate of food', or
- Everyone roll up their sleeves and make dessert together. 'Anyone for Chocolate Mousse?"
There are lots of ways to include all age groups.
You could even have a themed dinner - one week BBQ, one week mexican, one week chinese.
If you are looking for a topic of discussion, have you considered rules around gift giving and receiving? Gift receiving etiquette and manners are important to know. Whether you are a child or a child at heart.
Creative planning will make the family meal easier to put on the table.
Simple meals, (maybe even prepared in advance and frozen) are ways to ease the evening scramble and help keep the focus on family time, not on cooking and cleanup.
Avoid spending too much time cleaning after the meal; simple meals free up time for an evening for togetherness and bonding.
It is often a lovely idea to invite members of the extended family to join you for dinner, or for any of your family bonding activities. It may be a grandma or grandpa, or an aunt or your cousins.
Don't just pick up the phone, have you thought of writing them a letter? Yes, the good old fashioned invitation in the post? Do people write letters anymore? The thrill of receiving a letter in the mail is priceless and will make the event even more meaningful.
Although table manners must be taught and reinforced, mealtime needs to be an enjoyable and pleasant experience for everyone; remember the focus is on family time, togetherness.
- If need be, quick behavioral reminders can reinforce good manners and then conversation can be resumed.
Parents need to choose to be in a good mood, as do teenagers, and not let the day's frustrations weigh down the meal. After all, this is family time!
Interactive Apps and Accessories on the iPad
Family time - fun games and activities
There are almost endless games and fun activities that can be played as a family.
Ideas can include (for the younger members), coloring, guessing games, hide and seek, acting games (like charades), dress ups, even party games for the little ladies such as nail polish games with wash off nail polish.
Board games are wonderful. They bring out a different side to people and can great a lot of laughter and discussion.
Allow the children to help set the agenda. Again, another way to get them to feel more involved.
Don't limit family activities to 'after-dinner' time.
Spending time with the family outdoors is wonderful. Take the family meal and make it a family picnic. Take a ball, a frisbee or a cricket bat and play together. The family time will be bonus time with fresh air and exercise.
How about getting the kids to walk the family pet? Invite them to help with the gardening. Maybe they can help wash the car.
It is probably true that some of these tasks will end up taking a far longer time with children in tow, but they will enjoy it and it will provide them with lasting memories.
Remember take time to 'smell the roses ' and enjoy the simple things with your family.
Set a relaxed mood
Bath time is a wonderful time to create a relaxed mood for younger children.
After dinner, bathe them and put them in their pyjamas. Keep lights to a dim, lower voices, start to calm things down.
This will being about bed-time cues. Ask your children to select their favourite bedtime story. Read to them. Make this family time warm, joyful and happy.
Demonstrate love. Hug, snuggle and kiss each other.
In a blink of an eye your children will be all grown up and out of the house. Making a conscious effort to spend quality family time together is vital to the health and welfare of children.
Children deserve to thrive. Children deserve to have their parents interact with them.
Family time is a (self taught) parenting tool which helps regulate the content that children are exposed to and introduce healthier activities.
Developing strong relationships with children will build a bond that will last a lifetime.
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