As we have seen in the last blog (Family Matters to Kids!), family connections and relationships are a crucial part of a child’s development. These relationships can help shape the personality and confidence of our kids.
But guess what? Life is busy. Period! With so many dual-income and single-parent households, busy at-home parents and kids participating in sports and other extracurricular activities, the time-honoured tradition of connecting with your kids on a daily basis is not an option for everyone.
Here, Beyond the Classroom shares our top 10 ways families can spend more time together to maintain close family relationships. Let’s get creative with ways to stay connected with our families!
10 ways families can stay connected:
- Family night – Start a ‘family night’and put it on the calendar for family only! This could be anything from a movie night to dinner out, board games at home or even reading as a family. Make it a family tradition and keep it part of your routine – be accountable!
- Bonding time – When it comes to family bonding time, it is quality over quantity. Put the phones down, engage and have eye contact. Even twenty minutes of one to one time with children each day has a lasting effect. Do something interactive if you can and focus your complete attention on them! Bedtime is a great time to unwind and reconnect after a long day apart
- Bring back family dinners – Try and eat dinnertogether as a family at least 2-3 times per week, even if it means eating early or late. Snacks can suffice! Don’t let appointments and activities get in the way of connecting every night. Work around your schedule and be a role model for healthy eating
- Laugh together – Can you think of funny ways to get each other to laugh? Being silly together is a great way to bond. Play the game HEADS UP on your phone (yep, there is an app for that!). It makes for some funny moments!
- Limit the commitments – Feel like your family is being pulled in every direction? Extracurriculars, sports teams, classes and clubs can consume precious family time. Prioritize your commitments so that your family has time to rest together, talk and re-charge
- Family adventures – Plan some events for just your family. If you can, take a family vacation or ‘staycation’. See what events/resources your community has to offer (museum, community/recreational centre, library, etc.)
- Sharing in responsibilities– Spend some time together cleaning the house, getting organized, etc. Setting responsibilities for each member of the family gives them purpose and works towards family goals. com has some great tips on dividing family chores here.
- Bring back lunch box notes – Write each other special notes or texts. Create a family mailbox for when family members have to go away on business, are deployed, etc. When one parent is away for long days, they can leave a special note or little something for the kids in the family mailbox. Before the kids go to bed, they can create something sweet to leave for Mom or Dad too. Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter the most!
- Make use of technology – For family members who are far away, utilize Skype, FaceTime, Whatsapp video calls, etc. as these are great way to stay connected when physical proximity is not an option. With improvements in technology every day, these are low cost options for staying connected!
- Volunteer as a family – If your children are old enough, volunteerism is a great way to stay connected as a family. Your kids can learn about giving back to the community by your example while spending quality time together. Before you dive in, discuss your interests. Does your family want to work outdoors? What issues are important to your family? Do you feel strongly about helping the homeless or cleaning up the environment? There are countless volunteer opportunities: Habitat for Humanity, a beach cleanup or cooking at a soup kitchen, just to name a few. PBS Kids has a great guide, Zoom into Action: Family Guide to Volunteering, that can help you get started
Families are complex no matter what the dynamic. Be sure to spend some quality time with your family this summer and try out some of these ideas!