Spending time together as a family is truly one of the most memorable and impactful ways we can invest into our children while they still live at home. And a feeling of family togetherness is the most precious gift we can give to our children as toddlers, kids, and teens, making them want to come back to that place as adults.
Today’s world can make it difficult at times to find ways for families to ensure that they get that time together that they need, to grow, build and connect. We’re overbooked, under loved, and lacking connection.
Think about your daily agenda and everything that goes on. From work to commitments, to meetings…to time spent traveling to and from places, to preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner…it can all be overwhelming and it can all cause that important family time to suddenly find itself seated on the back-burner.
The good news?
It can be corrected and put back on track with a family reset! You can put your focus back on your family and find those ways to spend more time together. Having the ability to surround ourselves on a daily basis with those who share love, respect, and positive praise for one another is an amazing way to bond and form a circle of trust.
Communicate as a family how you want to spend time together.
Use the conversation as a learning experience to gauge one another and see what each person in the family would like to do.
Be open, warm and welcoming to the ideas brought forward. Remember that each person in your family in an individual, where they have their own unique thoughts and voices. Empower each other to express ideas of how to build up time together as a family, and then embrace those ideas to start thinking of ways to implement.
Create meaningful traditions beyond the holidays
It’s easy to talk about creating family traditions when it’s something like Thanksgiving or Christmas. But what traditions will your family talk about for years to come that go beyond the obvious?
For us, we played Monopoly ALL DAY one day of the year. And no one could ever ask to play it any of the other 364 days. Another one was that my mom and I always did a girls’ only weekend trip each spring.
Some people do brunch weekly on the weekend. Others have monthly outings. What can you add that will foster time together and memories made?
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Have a constant every day.
Create a constant every day that each member of the family knows is going to happen, no matter what. It can be as simple as everyone waking up at the same time in the morning and having breakfast together, or sitting together at the end of the day and talking about the ins and outs of all the events that everyone had going on.
Your schedule alone may be full to the max on a daily basis, but once you add in everyone else’s commitments, it can be overwhelming. But at the point you schedule it, it becomes a priority. Will every day be perfect? No. Is there an opportunity to strive for each day to have more family time than the day before? Absolutely.
Be kind and courteous to one another.
Seems simple, right? Your family is your #1 support system, and are also the people who are there with you when you are dealing with and processing through, frustrations.
Fight the urge to pass those frustrations and emotions on to other family members. They are your support system and the ones who are there to build you up but also help you when you fall. Above all, be kind to them. Kindness begins in your heart and in your home.
Find support in one another.
Some days can present challenges and prove to be more difficult than others. What better way to process and end the day more positive than it started than by finding that comfort and support from your family members. Building a home created on trust is important. We live in an imperfect world, surrounded by imperfect people. Strive to create a home to embrace those imperfections while still providing positive reinforcements and solutions.
Look around at all the amazing people in your family that surround you on a daily basis. Take a moment to process and think about how truly blessed you are to have such a strong, willing and able support system in your life. In return, be that same support system for them. Be their eyes, their ears and the reason that they smile, each and every day.
Practice apologizing and forgiving
Early in our marriage, my husband threatened to write it on the calendar when I said “I’m sorry” or when I admitted wrong. But truth be told, I could probably have done the same for him. So it’s no wonder once our kids came along, they developed bad habits and we had to teach our kids to apologize.
Doing so actually helped our whole family function better. We weren’t walking around with big bad grudges because as a family we were learning not just to apologize, but to make it right. Which in turn made it a lot easier for everyone to learn forgiveness.
Learn to give out hugs often
The health benefits of hugging are vast. It can lower blood pressure, affect pain tolerance and immunity, but most of all it boosts oxytocin.
Oxytocin is known as the love hormone. Midwives and OB/GYNs best know it for helping kick-start labor and bring in milk. But in general anyone can experience the love hormone from hugging… especially those hugs that last more than a few seconds and don’t come from a side-arm.
When oxytocin is released from hugging, we feel not just loved but truly cared for and supported.
Encourage Common Interests
Sometimes with all the personalities in a family, it’s hard to make everyone happy. But finding a rotation of activities can help build appreciation for one another and a tighter feeling of family togetherness.
Have established rules and values
The more known your rules and boundaries are, the more you can talk about them as a family. We do this, especially in our backyard because it’s the meeting place for other kids in the area. Having posted rules means there’s no confusion, but everyone works to make sure they happen.
Implementing values and rules can be as simple as making to-do charts for kids. So if praying is something you want your kids to do, then it can be a part of their morning and evening charts.
It builds togetherness because everyone is participating, learning, and talking about those practices daily.
Notice accomplishments and focus on the good
When we shift from a focus of negativity and falling short to an attitude of “look what you did!” and “you tried so hard!” then our family starts looking for the accomplishments and also works to build each other up.
Seek out laughter as a family
Laughter is the best medicine. Both for your health and for your family.
Tickle parties, telling jokes, and playing games all have a huge place in giving your family a reset and a better sense of togetherness.
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Using the word “SMILE” this is a cheat sheet on how to reframe negative thoughts and words into something more positive for the family to focus on. And it’s an immediate shift from negative to positive and build better family togetherness.
Looking for a family reset?
For a limited time, register for the family reset challenge for free. It will help parents and kids of all ages build a better bond and develop a greater sense of appreciation. Learn more now!
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!