Friday, June 6, 2008

Family Friday! A Family That Plays Together Stays Together

Blended Family Bonding: Tips for Growing Closer

Whether the family you have is a “yours, mine and ours” or just “yours” it can take time to develop the tight knit family we all desire.

In order to achieve a family cohesiveness, you have to work hard at it – yes that means it is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to create a “bonding friendly” atmosphere.

Start with rich soil

You wouldn’t place seeds into red clay and expect it to grow, right? So, why would you ignore your family atmosphere and still expect relationships to flourish? In order for a family to grow and prosper, you have to provide a stimulating environment.

Your family environment should include:

  • A setting in which open lines of communication are established and encouraged
  • At least a few hours a week of “the whole family” time in order to learn about each other and team build
  • Verbal and non-verbal love affirmation (saying I love you, kissing their cheeks, hugs, etc.)
  • Clear rules established, maintained and followed through – everyone should be aware of what the house rules are that are consistently enforced
  • Positive reinforcement – parents should generously reward those children and each other when positive behaviors are displayed – this helps children learn what acceptable behavior is and how to demonstrate it.

Then add water

Once you have established a healthy family environment, it’s time to water the soil and watch the seeds of happiness and closeness grow.

It is very important for parents/guardians to provide opportunities where the family can grow closer. That doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself by trying to come up with the most creative and expensive way to make your children happy; rather, you have to provide activities that give the family time to adjust and learn about each other. It isn’t just about the children, but the whole family unit – so if you get grunts of displeasure with your family bonding session announcement, don’t give up. They, and you, may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Here are a few family bonding activities that are sure to bring your family closer together:

My Culture.

Have a family night with no television – instead, lay out refreshments and snacks and talk about your background. It is very common for families to come from different races and backgrounds, so why not talk about it? You may have to help the kids research their culture a bit online or at the library, but they will enjoy learning about the history behind who they are. This is an opportunity to teach your children that everyone is different and those differences make us beautiful individuals. It is also a great way to teach your children about coping with different prejudices and hardships that their parents may had to face.

Sowing the seeds of love.

Make a note of what vegetables and herbs that your family often uses and instead of purchasing them from the grocery, grow them yourselves. Give everyone a task in taking care of the garden, and then reap the rewards when it’s time to harvest. This shows your family that it takes a lot of work for anything to grow, but in the end the payoff is big. Be sure to provide analogies of how the garden is like your family – they’ll get the hint!

Go Team!

Kids love belonging to a team, so show your support. Make sure your partner and yourself attend the majority of your shared children’s sports games, spelling bees and other organized teams. It will show your children that you love and support them, and it will bring you back to the perspective you once had as a child.

Learning together.

Instead of cheering your child on, why not join them? Find an extracurricular activity that the whole family can enjoy together – join a choir, a karate class or a local theater group. Or, spearhead an organized activity – become a Boy Scout leader, a soccer coach or church youth leader just for your child’s age.

Picture Pages.

Sit down in the living room and have the family share their personal stash of pictures – kids especially love to see images of their parents/guardians when they were younger, and it provides you the opportunity to share stories of your youth.

Current events.

Openly discuss current events with your family when ever you have the chance (in the car, while eating breakfast, etc.). Get their perspective on what’s happening in the world today, and explain to them how the news applies to their own lives. This opens the door to open communication and shows your children that their thoughts matter, and in your mind, their votes count.

Game night.

Establish a game night one night a week and play all your favorites. Find some inexpensive gifts at the dollar store or candy isle and reward winners (and losers too). It’s fun and easy, and you’ll find your family eager for the next game night.

Family room fever.

Traditionally, mothers take it upon themselves to decorate the house in their tastes and desires. But, if you have a family gathering place – a den or rec room or other area – why not have the whole team design and implement a theme for the room? This is a great way to learn how to work together as a group and it gives kids exposure to that much needed characteristic – compromise. Once you have a plan in place, put everyone to work – paint the room together, go shopping at flea markets or garage sales to find furniture and accessories for the room and refinish them together. Then the next time you have family time in the “family room” everyone will appreciate all the work that went into it.

Sharing time.

Are you a whiz with the camera? Do you throw pots like a professional? Why not show your kids your special talent? Not only will they learn a new skill, but they may find a new passion they never would have known about if you didn’t open their eyes to it.

Watch it Bloom

Like those flowers you planted and cared for, your family will bloom with love just by making them a priority. It takes time and effort, but the end result is a close-knit family working together for life.

Jami Cameron

post signature


Guardian Angel said...

This is such a very informative and useful tips.

I hope many will learn from this. Thanks for being so concern with family related issues.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Tammy,
You are so blessed to have such a wonderful family. Your tips for family bonding are so valuable, everyone can learn from them. Thanks for your encouraging post. God bless you and your family always.

Jo Ann said...

i like the tips. mine is a blended family with "mine" and "ours"... and it has not been easy blending my kids and my husband. your tips gave me ideas what to do with my family.

Tidbits Of Tammy said...

Thanks so much for your kind words. Thanks for leaving a comment and being a faithful visitor.

Thanks so much. I appreciate you being a faithful commenter.

Jo Ann,
It is always nice to hear that someone is able to use some of the tips.
Thanks so much for visiting.