Among all the relationships we share with fellow humans, family is the most powerful one.Â However, the stress and tension of the current lifestyle make it difficult to spend quality time with our families. Sometimes even in the presence of our family members, we tend to get distracted and miss out on precious moments.
To avoid such things, you need to make a conscious effort to increase your family time. In this blog, we have listed 16 family bonding activitiesÂ that can bring your family members closer to each other.
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 yourÂ family bondingÂ 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 Everyoneâs Interests
The secret to strong family bonds is the involvement of all the members. Honoring everybodyâs 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 familyâs 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 â 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 childâs 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.Â 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 kidâs 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 familyâs 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.Â 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.
Â A healthy and strong family bond is essential for oneâs 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.
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- Associations between early family meal environment quality and later well-being in school-age children