Life is about connecting with others and building a community. As parents, we do everything we can to give our familial bonds a solid foundation. Here are ten ways that start with you, to keep your family connection strong!
Why are Strong Family Connections & Bonds Important?
A strong family connection is so important to foster in every household. Some may not see closeness as their priority. Though you don’t need close connections to share the love within your family, they do contribute to several aspects of a healthy household.
It builds trust
The stronger your family connections are, the more trust you foster in your household. Trust takes time and reassurance. Keep your family connection strong to affirm that safety and trust can be found at home.
It fosters mutual respect
A strong family connection can be built on mutual understanding. When we understand each other, we are more forgiving, more loving, and show more respect to those around us.
It models healthy relationships
The first relationships most children build are within their families. Children look to these relationships as examples of what connection means. By modeling a strong family connection, your children are more likely to build strong, healthy relationships outside of the home and throughout their lives.
10 Ways to Build Strong Family Connections
Strong family connections are more than a parenting building block–they are the foundation.
Interpersonal skills begin in the household. By keeping strong family bonds, we guarantee that children’s first connections are healthy and loving. These connections transfer directly to skills that children will take with them as they grow.
Here are ten intuitive ways to build and keep strong family connections that can be adopted into even the busiest of schedules!
1. Find Time for One-on-One Bonding
Families are often described and treated as a unit. Family bonding can tend to follow this model as well–family time is carved out when the entire family gets together. And, while this time can be really useful in creating family connections, it may not be the best choice for every family.
Some people struggle with socializing in groups, even in their own families. For example, introverts often have a better chance of building deep and lasting connections in one-on-one settings.
By carving out one-on-one time with all of your kids, you can create more meaningful bonds within your family. The best part? These smaller bonds can transfer to the family unit and create stronger connections overall.
2. Enjoy Shared Meals
Sitting down together for dinner is almost a cliche at this point. So many people recommended it and for good reason! This is a simplistic and intuitive way to build family time into your daily routine.
This method goes beyond a simple tradition. It gives the opportunity for family members to unpack their day and give personal updates in a low-stakes, high-support environment.
In addition, this allows your family to share a meal every day. Though it may sound mundane, I find that sharing a meal can be quite intimate. You can enjoy food together whether that be a dinner time or at breakfast–whatever works for your family’s schedule.
This uninterrupted quality time can set a standard for strong family connections. And by sticking to this routine, you can help keep these standards high.
3. Have Designated Family Time
In order to build strong family connections, you need to spend time together as a family (duh!).
Designated family time can look different amongst different families. It may mean taking a trip to the grandparents every weekend or playing a board game on Friday night.
Family time, however, does not include something potentially dreaded like a trip to the dentist or doctor’s office. The one rule of this kind of family time is that it should be something that everyone looks forward to!
Family time doesn’t need to be a hard and fast tradition. It can be difficult to get everyone together in the same room when everyone is so busy! Still, try carving out a designated time to be together, even just once a week. Taking this time will be invaluable in keeping your family connected.
4. Focus on Emotional Needs
Let me know if these lines sound familiar.
“Not when you’re living under my roof!”
“You will eat the food I put on the table”
“I feed you! I clothe you! You will do as I say!”
These rants seem a little bit archaic now (even a little cartoonish!). You may hear them now and again but they were once staple phrases in the North American household. What turned these infamous phrases into relics? They focussed solely on physical needs.
Parenting was once largely a commitment to helping children meet their physical needs. Now, however, we know that children’s emotional needs are just as important.
By acknowledging and encouraging the expression of your children’s emotional needs, you’ll be able to deepen your family connection.
5. Support Lifelong Learning
By being a lifelong learner, you acknowledge that you do not know it all; there is always going to be something new to learn. There will always be someone more knowledgeable than you who can share their wisdom. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about something, there is always room to grow.
You may already have really strong family connections. But, by taking the stance of a lifelong learner, there may be ways to strengthen the quality and longevity of these connections.
Relationships change over time. By continuing to reach out and find new ways to connect with your family, your family connection will withstand and thrive throughout the change.
6. Share in Family Traditions
Family traditions, big or small, are important in cultivating a strong family connection. There are a ton of ways that your family can create traditions that are unique to you!
These traditions can be based on holidays, like making candy apples every Halloween as a family.
They can also be more common traditions, like cooking pancakes every Sunday together as a family.
Traditions help keep strong family connections because they ground you in happy memories and quality time spent together.
If you want these traditions to bring maximum joy, everyone’s voice should be heard! Let kids have a say in making these traditions and taking on active roles within them. Also, having leadership roles that they can grow into over time will make these traditions last for years to come.
7. Know When to Apologize
A community doesn’t thrive on pride; it thrives when we use empathy in our relationships.
Apologizing isn’t always easy, especially when you’ve been hurt. As parents, we need to model apologizing for our mistakes, and using empathy to better understand other perspectives.
By acknowledging our parts in familial conflict, we help our family members feel heard and validated. This will encourage children to seek more empathetic conflict resolution. Through apologizing, we can strengthen bonds, even when we make a mistake.
8. Discover Shared Interests
Family members are not all alike! We are all unique beings filled with different wants, needs, and interests. A wonderful way to build strong family connections is to find the ways in which our interests intersect!
You may have a shared love of hiking, playing video games, or crafting! By finding common interests, family members can bond doing the things they love with the people that they love.
If you’re finding it difficult to bond based on your current interests, this is the perfect opportunity to try something new! Take up the guitar, baking, badminton, or anything else that sparks interest.
9. Get Involved & Show Genuine Interest
One of the easiest ways to bond and find common ground with your children is to immerse yourself in their lives!
If you have school-aged kids, it can be easy to focus solely on school. Their interests, thoughts, and lives, however, go far beyond their education.
It is a very human desire to feel understood–to be known. This desire doesn’t bloom as we reach adulthood. Even the most reserved child wants to share who they are. If you foster and take part in their interests, you can bond over their worlds.
This is a two-way street. For as much interest as you show in your children’s lives, share with them bits of you.
10. Model Sharing Love, Loudly!
We all show and receive love in different ways. Expressing our love in concrete, verbal ways, however, doesn’t always come naturally!
Model sharing love with verbal affirmations and other deliberate acts of kindness. By modeling this open, honest expression of affection, your kids will feel more comfortable expressing love and admiration as well.
Through verbal affirmations of how much you care for each other, your family connection will grow stronger than ever.
I hope that you find these methods useful in strengthening your family connections! Though some of these options may already feel intuitive, use them to further your bonds and find new ways to show love to one another!
Related Articles for Building Strong Family Connections
- How To Host Effective Family Meetings
- Family Fun Night: 20 Minute to Win it Games for Kids & Adults
- Ultimate List of 40 Best Family Night Ideas to Try With Kids
- Positive Parenting Strategy: The Key to Connection Can be Found in the Child Ego State
- 6 Positive Parenting Techniques to Use Rather Than Yelling