16 Family Bonding Activities To Strengthen The Relationships

Written by Harini Natarajan, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Fast-paced professional lives and personal issues can create a rift in your family. In this case, there can’t be a better way to restore familial love than indulge in some family bonding activities. While most of us ignore our families to deal with other things, it pays to dedicate quality time to our near and dear ones.

When you can’t remember the last time you all sat together to eat or watch a daily soap together, it isn’t a good sign for your family and warrants urgent remedial steps. This article lists 16 family bonding activities that can help bring the family members closer and refresh bonds. Scroll down to pick the right activity for your family!

16 Activities To Strengthen Family Bonds

1. Plan Family Time

Most of us schedule our work or academic life but do not pay the necessary attention to the bonding time with our family. To fix this, take time out of your day and compare the weekly schedules of all your family members. This way, you can identify a couple of time blocks where everyone is free. Decide on what you can do on such days and how to utilize the time. Get the consent of all the family members before deciding anything; it will help them stick to the plan.

2. Come Up With A Family Mission Statement

While a mission statement may seem too formal, the fact is having things documented makes it easier to prioritize them. A family mission statement tells younger family members what the core values are and how they can stick to them. It also reiterates the importance of family bonds and reminds everyone what they love about their family.

You can prepare a decorative mission statement and display it in a common area. You can also add family bonding time quotes or motivational statements for better results.

3. Encourage Family Support

You will be amazed to learn the role of family support in character building. To make the most of it, center your family bonding activities around celebrating and encouraging each other. It is vital to create a safe space where every member is free from being judged. This is an utmost necessity for unconditional support and healthy family ties.

If one of your parents is passionate about gardening, try to talk to your kids about the same. Cultivate an interest by mentioning the joys of gardening and how the grandparent took this hobby.

Such activities will help family members understand each other better and pave the way for stronger relationships. They will feel free to share minor personal, academic, or professional triumphs with the family and not shy away from discussing failures.

4. Create New Traditions

Every family has certain traditions that they would associate with a particular season or festival. Over time, due to changes in lifestyles and family structures, many such rituals cease to exist. But there is no reason why you cannot start your family bonding traditions.

The new traditions can be anything from picking the season’s first mangoes together to a bonfire night. Depending on your culture, consider preparing a Christmas dinner together as a family. Such activities help strengthen between family members and bring you closer to each other.

5. Honor Everyone’s Interests

The secret to strong family bonds is the involvement of all the members. Honoring everybody’s interests, being empathetic, and open to ideas is the key here.
For instance, if you have a family member who is lactose intolerant, try to avoid dairy products during dinners. This will make them feel valued, unlike situations where you arrange dairy alternatives for the concerned person.

Similarly, if your child is passionate about baseball, try to arrange a game for the family to watch together. Such proactive measures for supporting your family’s interests will go a long way in establishing the bond you had always dreamt of.

6. Work Together To Get Things Done

The more time your family spends working together, the better and stronger your bond will be. Start by taking charge and listing the chores of the house. Set up a time when everyone is free so that all the members can pitch in together. If a particular member has a demanding schedule, leave room for flexibility, and let them get their chores done within a deadline. Also, try to incentivize family members to do the work together – this will enable you to spend quality time with each other.

7. Have Family Meal Time

Discuss with your family and decide a few days of the week when the entire family can have their meals together. Decide on the time of the meal and ensure that everyone sticks to it.

It is also a good idea to define the behavioral etiquettes for such meals. Make it a practice that nobody uses any electronic devices during this time. This way, the conversation remains the priority of such family meals, and you can expect better family bonding.

Such designated family meals are beneficial for children. Research shows that such activities strengthen family bonds and positively impact a child’s physical and mental state (1).

8. Plan Family Vacations

Spending some time outside the city with your family is an excellent way to get out of the regular grind. It need not be a long vacation but make sure that all your family members are a part of the plan.

If you are traveling with kids or older adults, make sure to complete the travel bookings and reservations well in advance. Put your travel itinerary and reservation details in the family group so that everyone is aware of the progress and can plan their days. Remember, the best family bonding vacations are the ones planned to the dot and have the involvement of every member.

9. Schedule Me-Time

Any individual can be an active contributor to family time only when they are happy themselves. To be at peace with oneself, you need to spend some quiet time away from family.

The need for downtime is vital when you have aging parents or young children in your family. Caring for your dependents for a prolonged time can take a toll on your mental health. The same holds true for your children or parents who may feel claustrophobic by your presence all the time.

The ideal situation will be when you schedule downtime for the entire family. This way, family members get to spend time with their friends, read a book, watch movies, or indulge in any activity that helps them unwind. Such proactive measures will make you value your family bonding time more. You can also expect better and more enthusiastic contributions from your family members.

10. Arrange Talent Shows

Traditional family bonding involves talent shows wherein the family members arrange an act. There is creative freedom, and members can choose to sing, dance, or recite a poem.

You can also encourage family members to team up with each other while presenting a piece. Such activities will allow them to spend time with each other and further strengthen their bond.

11. Encourage Appreciation

Human beings like to feel valued and appreciated. Often, family members get too comfortable, which leads to taking each other for granted. To avoid such a situation, you must organize family bonding games that allow family members to show appreciation.

Arrange a game wherein the family members write one thing they like about every other member and put them in a bowl. The youngest (or oldest) family member can then take charge of reading aloud the contents of the bowl. Such initiatives will instill positivity in the family and make each member feel valued.

12. Volunteer As A Family

If you are looking for family bonding ideas, you may want to consider volunteering. Volunteering provides better life satisfaction and helps improve self-esteem. It also helps to tackle depression and teaches kids the art of kindness and empathy. You and your family may choose to volunteer at a blood bank, community food bank, old age home, or charity institution. When you function as a family, the more you give, the happier you will be.

13. Organize Educative Activities

You can arrange for the family to come together over a game of crossword. Organize family quizzes, where one of you becomes the quizmaster, and others compete for the first position.

For families that enjoy experimentation, the international night is a fun game to play.  Choose a country for the week, and every member prepares interesting trivia about the place. On the said night, each family members present their ideas. If possible, keep the menu for the night based on that place.

14. Share Family Stories

Storytelling is one of the most therapeutic family bonding activities. If you have elderly members in the family, encourage sessions where they talk about their childhood. You can also share anecdotes from your past or memorable incidents of your work life with your family. Storytelling sessions help bring your family together as a close-knit unit while improving your kid’s listening skills.

15. Organize Family Meetings

It is necessary to schedule family meetings to keep a check on your family members. They also provide a platform to air grievances or consult on future planning.

Begin such meetings by reiterating the family’s mission statement and asking the members for issues to be added to the agenda. Also, practice maintaining discipline during family meetings, ensure that everyone has a fair chance to speak, and no one interrupts when a family member has the floor.

16. Community Living

A holistic look at the family bonding structure reveals that it involves spending time with other families.  When you involve your family in activities with other families of the community or neighborhood, your family functions as a unit or team. This fosters communication and strengthens the ties among the members.

Look up arrangements in your office, church, or neighborhood where you can join other families for such social gatherings. Even if it feels awkward initially, your family will get accustomed to the idea of community gatherings.

A healthy and strong family bond is essential for one’s mental health. Knowing that you have people who can have your back gives you the courage to battle even the toughest wars. Thus, it is imperative to value family time and treat members with the highest love and empathy.

Key Takeaways

  • Your busy schedules may not allow you to spend much time with your family, so doing some fun activities together can help you spend some quality time together.
  • Family vacations and family meal times are some of the many activities that can help your family get closer.
  • You can also start some family traditions and encourage and support each other wherever possible to show your appreciation for your family.

Our personal and professional life issues can hog up so much of our time that we barely pay attention to our families. We often forget that our families help us stay sane through most of our problems. Of course, our folks will always welcome us with open arms, but they will greatly appreciate our efforts to bridge the distance we unknowingly created. Family bonding activities are a great way to spend time with the family and enjoy yourself together. Besides strengthening familial bonds, these activities could also function as a stress-buster and provide a much-needed break from our monotonous life. So make use of these fun ideas to reconnect with your family.

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