Connecting with your child or teen is of great benefit to you and them. Younger people need and want that sense of security and as much as they may not show it: they crave the love. What do we want as parents? Well, the popular answer is: “the best for my kids”, but if you look further you’ll see what we really want is a friendship so our kids will always feeling comfortable sharing the good times and their struggles. It’s in that closeness that our guidance will have a positive and lasting impact.
I know, it’s not on the calendar (if it is, your ahead of the game) because with a window of only 12 hours, parents are just trying to keep their health after working 9-5 only to get home to: homework, ‘what’s for dinner?’, race to swimming lessons, and remembering to get the car in for service already!
So I’m here to tell you that family bonding is not necessary but essential in our lives. Thinking about my own childhood and the beautiful moments, what comes to mind: the family trips, fishing for 7 hours straight with my dad and feeling that relief after my mom patiently explained math.
So as you read on, know that by the end of this blog, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your daily schedule to include: FAMILY BONDING.
- It’s your best investment. We get to re-create all our childhood memories all over again and this time, we get paint the memories as we like. By simply playing a card game with the kids, we plant happy thoughts that will keep us laughing and talking for a life-time. With quality family-time, even on shoestring budget, your kids will feel better and in turn, do better.
- Family bonding not only builds wonderful family memories, it shapes self-confidence (even in us as parents!) and keeps the communication open. Learning about our kids’ struggles and experiences outside the home is needed for proper guidance and allows them to learn from us, helping them make wise decisions in the future.
6 steps you can take which can help build a stronger family bond:
- Family dinner (at home). As simple as this seems, it’s not that easy! It’s a process to cook, set the table and clean up. It takes patience to get the kids involved because they are going to show you horrific table manners (where did he learn that??), forget the napkins and drop food on the floor (opps, sorry!). Yes, it’s all part of the process of connecting with them. As time goes by with more and more dinners together, soon they will be cooking for you and you’ll miss their silly old habits and it will be the start of a fun conversation. Family meals also promote great eating habits, are great opportunities to coach etiquette and gets everyone talking about their day. Make sure you ask questions and share your growing up stories.
- Reading books. Reading a book aloud to your kids before bed (yes, even if they are teens) is a soothing way to encourage our kids to go beyond the digital world and allow yourselves to spark conversation, build imagination and enjoy the story adventure together. You don’t need to always choose fiction! Go for a great biography, even a business or finance book like Rich Dad Poor Dad, anything that inspires you, read it to them – your kids will be inspired.
- Teach your kids the power of spirituality/meditation. This is a wonderful way for everyone to connect and surrender to a higher power, appreciate what we have, learn to listen to our breath and become skilled at dealing with life’s challenges. Being together in silence has just as much benefit as bonding through talk.
- Involve yourself in your kids’ activities. Here’s the trick: Don’t just drop them off, or sit through practice while checking facebook. Make it a point to go to the game and WATCH them play, swim, draw , act or skate. Wave to them as you watch to share their success as it happens. They will feel the support and you may even see them try a little harder to overcome an obstacle. Your presence or participation in their extracurricular activities and hobbies does wonders for kids’ happiness and self-confidence. Without even saying a word, your child will learn the significance of commitment and integrity through YOUR ACTIONS. Praising children allows them to become more self-motivated and inclined to deal with challenges.
- Help your kids with their homework. Don’t be embarrassed to help them solve a problem even if you don’t know how! YouTube is your best teaching tool, even for teachers. Watch a video on ‘how to write an essay’ together and have a conversation about it. One of the best online teaching tools for math is Khan Academy and it is all videos teaching the steps of how to solve math equations. Homework time allows you to see how they are doing academically and learn more about their problem-solving skills, even if you spend only 20 minutes per day. It’s a great way to bond and will allow you to teach them a method from your experience on the subject.
- Exercise together, REGULARLY (even if its raining!). Schedule at least one day in the week where you can go for a bike ride, walk or jog which will foster healthy lifestyle habits and is a creative way to releasing ‘the happy chemical’ endorphin together! Set a goal to give you something to strive for like a charity run or certain speed within a certain time-frame. This is not only help you stay young (to keep up with your kids!) but build a very special bond while contributing to our most valuable asset: our health.
There really is no place like home. Kids just really want to play with the biggest kid on the block: YOU! Enjoying life together is what it’s all about. It’s a wonderful escape for us as parents from the day-to-day grind of work to just BE a kid again, with our kids. In the process, we create joyful memories for ourselves and our kids to be remembered and passed on.
Happy family bonding, don’t forget to share this post and spread the love!
Written by Dana Ben Halim
Heart Learning Centre & CampZone Founder/Director
B.A. Economics; B.Ed (Hons.)
Themes – 2 Week Blocks – 5 Day Drop In -Camp Counselour Academy (ages 10+) -Lunch Program -Trips – Beach Volleyball -Variety Sports-Dance
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