Do you have a close knit family? Would you like your kids to be close to each other, and to you, throughout their lives? Family bonding activities create the environment for a close knit family. These 3 fun ways to improve family bonding are just right for you.
So what is family bonding and why is it important? Family bonding is spending time together and building your relationships. It’s important because it benefits kids and parents. Your kids learn social skills, problem solving and conflict resolution. Their coping skills improve so that they are better able to handle stress in life. Family bonding also improves your child’s self esteem.
The parental benefits to family bonding are pride, self confidence and the support that comes from having a close knit family. As your children grow up, they’re more likely to enjoy coming home to visit. They’ll look forward to spending time with you and with their siblings.
Family Bonding Brings Joy
There’s no greater joy for a parent than watching their adult children enjoy each other’s company. Watching them laugh together, plan outings and support each other warms a mother’s heart. Kids who bond with their families when they are young, stay close to each other as adults.
Family bonding happens year round, but summer is a good time to choose some activities to especially increase your family bonding. To make it easier, I’ve grouped these family bonding activities into three types of experiences: Facing A Challenge, Laughing Together and Family Traditions or Routines.
Facing a challenge
Facing a challenge doesn’t mean dealing with tragedy. Challenges can be simply learning a new skill, playing a new game or solving a mystery. My son bonds with his daughter by going Geo-caching. They are facing a challenge together.
When you face a challenge with your family, you model problem solving skills and perseverance. Your kids watch how you handle frustration and confusion. These are valuable lessons AND they build the family bonds.
Here are a few ideas for facing a challenge as a family:
- Learn a new skill – archery, kite flying, unicycle, calligraphy, pottery, reupholstery, knitting. There are classes available for many of these things online and through Community Education.
- Card Games – Learn a brand new game! Did you play cards as a kid? Many families bond over the card table. Our favorite was Gin Rummy with Dad. Here’s a link to the 10 card games every kid should know. It’s a good place to start.
- A Mystery Dinner – You can buy these at a game store or shop online for downloadable mysteries. Be sure to let the whole family help plan and prepare the meal.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle together – Challenge yourselves with a deadline for finishing it. Schedule time each day when everyone chips in.
- Find out about your family heritage – Interview elderly relatives together, search through online ancestry programs. Or just learn about your community’s history.
- Do a DIY project together – My mom and I repaired and redecorated our cabin together when I was just a teen. There are many simple DIY projects that kids and parents could tackle. Look around your house. Is there a room to paint? A closet to organize? Kids take great ownership when they are part of the solution.
When is the last time you really shared some deep down belly laughs with your whole family? What were you doing? Research verifies that laughter is healing to our bodies and it is definitely a way for families to bond. Think about the things that make your family laugh and plan those activities. You won’t be sorry, but you may have a belly ache.
Here are a few ideas for some side splitting laughter:
- Minute to Win It – Check out this link. These short activities are sure to make your family laugh. Junk In the Trunk was one of our favorites!
- Mad Libs- If you don’t know what these are, check it out here. Most kids are familiar with these from school. You could do them in teams for even more creativity and fun.
- Comedy shows – Depending on the age of your kids, you could go to a live show or watch something on TV. There are many family friendly comedians to choose from. Also, check the local theater offerings. Our family enjoyed “Triple Espresso” so much that we went to see it again and again.
- Play Charades – This simple game has a way of causing all kinds of laughter.
- Joke Night – Bad Dad Jokes are very popular. Why not challenge everyone in the family to bring their best jokes to the table. You could make it a contest, or pass around a jester hat to the winning jokester.
Family Traditions or Routines
Whenever you think of family bonding you automatically think of traditions. Most families have traditions around the holidays they celebrate. A tradition in my family was an Angel Food cake for every birthday.
Traditions cause a family to bond because they are dependable, repeated and give the family members a sense of security. These routines make us feel comfortable and safe. They also provide shared memories as you age. And because they are happen over and over again, they stick in our memories better.
But you don’t need the holidays for an activity to be a family bonding building event. And summer is a great time to start some new traditions that are fun and easy to repeat.
Here are a few ideas for some new traditions
- Set up an Outdoor Game Night – Choose games that are easy for everyone to do. You might play 4 Square, Kickball, Tag, Bocce Ball, Bags or Hide and Seek. Whatever you play, remember it needs to be repeated. So plan to play every week or two so that it becomes a tradition.
- Non-Competitive Game Night – Your family may enjoy these non-competitive games more.
- Create a tournament – once you’ve found a game you all like, set up a tournament. You could have brackets, and double elimination. Don’t forget the ribbons or trophies.
- Plant a garden – This tradition will be repeated each year, but why not start now! Choose easy plants that grow quickly.
- Volunteer together – Find a cause that you are passionate about and involve the family in serving the community. Alternately, you could fundraise for a favorite charity. This becomes a tradition if you decide to repeat it each summer.
- Dinner and a Movie night – You’ve heard of Taco Tuesday, but you could turn any summer night into a special event by making the same meal and choosing a movie to watch all together. The key to making this a family bonding event is by repeating it. Make it a priority to do it each week.
- Photo Night – Since our photos are all digital, why not take some time each week to pick out a few to put into an album. Each family member contributes a few photos and at the end of the summer you’ll have a great album to print out as a summer memory book.
Family bonding happens naturally when we repeat fun activities. These activities become a tradition that kids begin to rely on. They experience a sense of security and safety because part of their life is predictable.
I hope you find a few things to try with your family. And I would love for you to drop us an email to let us know how it’s working for you.