We may not remember our youngest years in detail, but studies show that we actually carry the lasting emotions of those memories throughout life.
In other words, if you’re hoping to bring your family—young or old—together as a group, there’s no wrong time to start! The warm, fuzzy feelings your loved ones will get from special moments are things they’ll cherish for years to come, and they can even help guide them to long-term health and happiness.
Of course, making the most of your family bonding time is harder than it sounds, especially if you’re not sure where to start. If that sounds familiar, we’ve got you covered: here are a few easy ways to get more out of the quality time you spend with your family.
Set Aside Time for Family
For some families, finding quality family time is harder than it sounds. With parents juggling their work schedules and making time for their kids’ extracurriculars, play dates, and more, it’s not always easy to find the time.
That’s why scheduling regular family time is important. Whether this means family dinners, family meetings, or any of the other options on this list is up to you. Once a week tends to be manageable for most families, but you can increase or decrease this as you see fit.
Take Advantage of Little Moments
Of course, just because you’ve penciled family time onto your calendar doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look out for other opportunities for family bonding time!
Don’t forget that your kids will often give you extra opportunities for bonding. They’ll ask you to play with them, come outside with them, read to them, help them with something, or talk to them. While it’s not always possible to drop everything to spend time with your child, accepting these invitations can be a fun way to add some extra bonding time to every day.
Eat Meals Together
Though it may not be possible every day, eating meals together is a great way to strengthen family bonds fast. It’s often easier to gather around the dinner table than breakfast on a typical school morning, but figure out what works best for your family.
Even if you’re already doing this, there are two quick ways to boost your bonding time.
First, make it a rule that no one—not even you—is allowed to use phones or electronics at the table. Second, whenever it’s possible, try to involve your kids in the cooking process. Whether you’re a home chef or you’re just learning to put together a meal, this is a great way to share recipes, get in some great conversation, and teach a valuable life skill.
Tackle Chores as a Team
Tackling your chores together sends some very important messages: everyone pitches in for the good of the household, and tough tasks are easier to manage as a team.
This can be as easy as managing your yard work together or cleaning the floors to your kids’ favorite songs.
For smaller chores, consider creating an age-appropriate chore chart or allowing kids to pick from a list each week. Then, have everyone complete their chores at the same time.
A small reward like playing a game together or going out for a snack can be a big motivator as well!
Establish Family Meetings
Though most of us think of activities when we wonder how to bond with our family, the truth is that there’s one thing that will get you even farther: good communication.
Gathering together to check in, talk about updates, and discuss upcoming plans can help you build your communication skills together. Even better, this is easy to do with the simple addition of family meetings to your calendar. These scheduled moments are a great way to make sure everyone in the family gets heard, as long as you approach them the right way.
Make Traditions and Maintain Them
The things that set you apart make your family great, and they’re the things your children will remember for a lifetime. This includes the unique traditions you keep, large and small, throughout the year.
Smaller traditions include things you do on a recurring basis, like going out for ice cream after your kids’ baseball games, starting a family book club, or having everyone pitch in to make family birthday cakes.
Larger traditions include things you do for special occasions and vacations, like having a grill-out on the first day of summer or the annual trips you take together. Don’t forget to use your family meetings to brainstorm great road trip ideas!
Do Something Nice Together
We’re all happier when we give more often, and the same holds true for our kids. Even better, doing something kind for others can pave the way for valuable learning experiences, stronger relationships, and more self-confidence.
Doing something kind might be as easy as baking cookies for a friend or helping your neighbors. If you want to try some larger giving, try participating in a charity fundraiser or volunteering as a group.
Explore Your Past and Future
Last, but certainly not least, there’s no better way to celebrate who you are as a family than by taking time to explore what you mean to each other.
Consider your past by drawing up a family tree, or by pulling out old photos and videos of your parents and relatives to show your kids.
To explore your present, consider setting aside a family meeting to write up a family mission statement.
As you think about the future, don’t forget about the power of setting goals together—and working toward them as a group!
Make the Most of Your Family Bonding Time
When done right, family bonding time can help kids learn valuable skills, learn to communicate with you and each other, and build memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime. Beyond that, it’s fun!
Because this type of quality time will look different from family to family, there’s no right or wrong way to approach it. Feel free to mix and match the tips above or to brainstorm your own ideas to get more out of your family time!
Want more helpful guides on family time and relationships? Be sure to take a look at our other content for additional insights.