The ordinary, everyday things that families do together can help build and sustain strong relationships amongst family members. These tips might help you and your family.
Regular family meals are a great chance for everyone to chat about their day, or about interesting stuff that’s going on or coming up. If you encourage everyone to have a say, no-one will feel they’re being put on the spot to talk. Also, many families find that meals are more enjoyable when the TV isn’t invited and when mobile phones and tablets are switched off!
Try setting aside time for fun family outings – you could all take turns choosing activities. A relaxing holiday or weekend away together as a family can also build togetherness. It’s always nice to spend time as a family, but when you force your children to spend time with you, you’re only creating a false sense of togetherness.
One-on-one time with your child gives you the chance to stay connected and enjoy each other’s company. It can also be a chance to share thoughts and feelings. If you can, try to find opportunities for each parent to have this time with your child.
Celebrate your child’s accomplishments
Celebrating your child’s accomplishments, sharing his disappointments, and supporting his hobbies helps your child know you have interest in him. You don’t have to make a big deal of this – sometimes it’s just a matter of showing up to watch your child play sport or music, or giving him a lift to extracurricular activities.
Family traditions, routines and rituals can help you and your child set aside regular dates and special times. For example, you might have a movie night together, a favourite meal or cooking session on a particular night, a family games afternoon or an evening walk together.
Agreed household responsibilities give children and teenagers the sense that they’re making an important contribution to family life. These could be things like chores, shopping or helping older or younger members of the family.
Agreed-on rules, limits and consequences give teenagers a sense of security, structure and predictability. They help your child know what standards apply in your family, and what will happen if she pushes the boundaries. However, you cannot have one set of rules for your children and another completely different set for you. If you insist that your kids tidy up after themselves and keep their rooms clean, do the same yourself. If you want them to eat healthy food and lead active lives, lead by example
Family meetings can help to solve problems. They give everyone a chance to be heard and be part of working out a solution. Therefore, have regular family meetings
If you feel that your family really isn’t connecting, you might find a family counsellor or other family support service helpful.
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