Staying connected is important, no matter what phase in life your family members are in. Busy schedules, work, and other responsibilities can take a serious toll on connectedness. But staying in touch with the ones you love is worth the effort it demands.
It might be easy to take your family for granted but you’re better off appreciating them and being deliberate in your attempts to connect. Below, we will go over some ways to ensure your family bond is strong as steel. Here’s how:
Make Meals Together
After a long day of work it’s easy to think of making a meal as just another chore, but it can be a great time to have fun and bond with your family. If someone comes up with a dinner idea, the other members can learn how to make it by taking part in the process. In this way, it’s like a team building exercise with the reward built in.
In addition to the team element of making food at home, it’s also a healthier alternative to eating out. Studies show that people who make food at home end up consuming less sugar and carbs than those who frequently order take out. This makes sense, when you consider that meals being sold are often filled with excess sugar, corn syrup, or other ingredients that help to drive down costs while making the food hyperpalatable.
Cooking at home is also a great opportunity to get in touch with different cultural traditions, both your family and others. Ancestral cuisines are generally quite healthy and delicious since they almost always centrally involve whole foods.
We covered the upsides of making food together, but actually sitting down and enjoying the meal together is crucial as well. Hectic schedules can easily make this difficult, but with a little patience and deliberation you should be able to make it work.
Turn off the tv, put down your phones, and appreciate each other’s company. If you can’t manage this every single night, make it a priority to have everyone together for dinner every Sunday.
Having a structure to your family’s weekly routine can be helpful in facilitating a tighter bond. Consider having a movie night or game night every week. It’s been shown that playing games with your kids can potentially improve grades and motor skills, on top of being fun. Once everyone gets into the groove of the weekly routine, they will start looking forward to it.
Technology can enhance our lives in many ways, but with great power comes great responsibility. Having a laptop or phone screen that answers all our questions in an instant has obvious momentary appeal, but less obvious long-term detriment.
Kids today are spending less time enjoying the physical company of friends and family and instead use social media to pacify this intrinsic need. However, there is reason to believe this can negatively affect emotional development, and the exact long-term implications of this are yet to be seen.
To combat the disconnectedness brought on by constant smartphone use, consider having a rule where the kids need to leave their phones in their room or where use is prohibited at the dinner table. Children are likely to put up a fight against such a decree at first, but will likely begin to understand the pragmatism behind it.
Go On a Vacation
Sometimes the answer to problems are simple. Everyone needs a break from reality from time to time, and your family is no exception. Taking a trip to a family-friendly resort can positively affect the social health of your family by getting rid of the stressors and responsibilities that tug people in different directions.
Likewise, if your family consists of only adults, an adults-only resort is a viable alternative with all the same benefits. The resorts have all the accommodations you would expect to make the experience as painless as possible, so the emphasis can be on spending time with your loved ones.
Support The Ones You Love
Be mindful of the talents and interests of everyone in the family. Attending sports games or dance recitals helps them to feel good about what they do, and helps foster their individual proclivities. Everyone is different and those differences should be celebrated and cultivated. This will also provide a boost to their self-esteem and give them confidence to pursue their dreams.
You may have heard of a parent trying to micromanage the interests and pastimes of their children; many people with more traditional mindsets try to steer their children into careers and interests in the name of lucrativeness.
While they are doing so with the best intentions, people are happier when they do what they love, and so a high paying job means much less when it comes at the cost of personal happiness. Happier people also work harder, so letting your children excel at the things they choose to pursue works itself out with enough determination.
Overall, cherish your family at all times. Take an adequate amount of time and spend it with them. You will be happy you followed these tips before too much time has passed, and it becomes more difficult to connect.