Is it time for your family to get more connected? Curious as to how other families manage to be so healthy, energetic, and totally connected? Here are some thoughts to get you started. Adapt a few to fit your particular family situation and you’ll be off and running!
Get Active Together
Have a family game night where you turn the TV off and everyone is interacting together. head outside and enjoy being in nature and getting some fresh air. Take a walk, throw a ball, or find an activity that everyone will enjoy doing together. Even just 20 minutes is all you need.
Take Classes Together
If you have a little one at home, it is important for you and your child to get out of the house and socialize. Find a Mommy and Me Yoga, Music, or Art Class. Visit your local library for free events and book readings and other children’s activities. Or join a gym or local moms group to get active together.
For older children, many local museums offer classes for more advanced art and study. Or start to learn a foreign language together. It is important for developing children to see that you value educating yourself and working on your own self-development as you move through your life. This helps a child see that we are all continuing on our journey toward bettering and enriching our own self-development.
Have Dinner Together
Sad to say, but in today’s busy society this is becoming rarer. If you cannot plan for every night to have dinner together, choose nights that are family dinner nights that you know you can stick to each week. This is a time to connect, converse, and also incorporate the help of everyone in the household for meal preparation, table setting, serving, and cleaning up. Your home is its own community in a sense, so there needs to be an expectation of showing up and helping out. Setting this practice and sticking to it will allow each member of your household to feel they are an important and valued member of your family.
Control the Foods in Your House
Let’s face it, if chips, soda, and cookies are in the house, you and your kids will eat it. If it is not available and replaced by easy to prepare snacks such as fresh fruit, vegetables, or air-popped popcorn you and your kids will eat it. Trust me, if you kids get hungry enough, they will eat it and they will feel better and get healthier. The more you can “automate” your meals, the easier your meal preparation will be, you will save money on your grocery and food bill, and you will be less likely to order carry out or visit the drive-thru window.
Plan each week – all meals and snacks. Incorporate items prepared from meals earlier in the week to be reused and incorporated into a new meal so that they will not go to waste. One of my favorite ways to use up leftovers from earlier in the week is to use the cooked vegetables and meats and add them to a pasta, stir fry with brown rice, or cook in a broth to make a tasty soup.
Bonding with family members is important. For young children, having a bedtime routine where you bathe, brush teeth, and read or tell a bedtime story is essential. Yes, this may take an hour of time from start to finish, but the bonding time you are creating is priceless.
For older children, watching a movie together, talking to one another, playing a game or reading a book are all activities where you are interacting on a more personal level and strengthening your relationship. It is easy to get caught up in your needs and preparing for the following day. And an adolescent child is not always willing to be conversational. So plan activity and interaction with things they enjoy. Maybe suggest listening to music, or searching for funny YouTube videos online could provide entertainment and bonding without being overly conversational. The importance of bonding with an older child is sometimes just being present.
Intimate time with your partner or spouse is essential not only for the health of your relationship but also for your own personal health. Sex and intimacy even just 2 times per week has many health benefits, including reducing stress. Even though stress, low energy, and everything else that is going on can sometimes take priority, planning your bonding time is just as, if not more important. Sometimes going through the motions is all it takes, even if you are not feeling “in the mood”, but afterward you will be glad you did it.