7 Tips for forging strong family bonds

Our family are the most important people in our lives. The bonds we share with our children and for many of us our partners are like none other. I was raised in a close family, and even now I’m still really close to both my parents and other family members. I hope to give my children the same comfort of knowing no matter how old they are, my door will always be open to them when they need me and when just want to hang out. Keeping close can be hard in a time where technology rules many of our lives, but it’s not impossible if we are willing to give the time and effort.

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Here are my methods for forging a strong family:

1. Spend your time wisely

Do you need to do those dishes right now? or can they be done later when the kids are in bed? I know how much it can play on your mind making chores wait, it does for me. However, the best way to bond with your child is to be there with them, talking to them and playing with them. Taking the time to listen to them talk about the things they like or how their day has been shows them how much you really care. Our children grow so fast, it’s important to make the most of the time we have in each stage of development, they learn something new every day and being there so see it is incomparable.

2. Take interest in the things they like.

this is really important, you don’t have to like them yourself but taking an interest in the things your children each like shows that you care about them as an individual. This even applies to young children. Ted is completely obsessed with sea animals and dinosaurs right now, so I took the time to read through his children’s encyclopaedia and learn their names. it’s made our playtimes so much more interactive and he thinks its awesome that I know so much! It could be as simple as watching them at a sports club, talking to them about the book they are reading or listening to their music whilst in the car. You could even get involved in their screen time too. Most older children and teens have a hobby that involves some screen time, it’s how our modern world is. why not let them suggest a movie or see if they have a two player video game? you might be terrible – but at least it would give them a laugh and laughter is a great way to bond!

3. Have a family night

I think its important that family night is flexible on what day it is. If you have family night on a set day of the week and it clashes with times when teens or older children want to go out with friends or watch a tv show it can easily become viewed resentfully as an obligation. Having family night on a night that suits everyone is another way to show that you care about their lives; as a parent your child missing out on one night with friends or an event can seem no big thing but to them it can mean a lot.

The best family nights are interactive ones. We love playing board games, they’re a tonne of fun and we always end up laughing which just sets the right tone for the evening. The lack of a screen also makes it easier to talk, its a great time to chat about everything and anything family related. You can have a family meeting without even realising!

4. Spend time 1 to 1 with each child

As a stay at home mum this is something I do every single day, it’s a great way for me to bond with my children. For my partner who works 5 days a week it’s a littler harder. By the time he gets home the children are starting to settle down for bed. He loves the kids wholeheartedly and works everyday to provide for them but naturally young children don’t understand that. He has less time to bond with them, so he really makes the effort to spend time with both children individually, its a really vital way for him to forge and maintain his relationship with them.

Usually on the weekend I will lie in with the baby and he will get up early with Ted to spend some quality time with him, Ted loves and values this daddy time so much. my partner then spends time with our baby girl 1-1 whilst I settle Ted down for bed. For working parents individual time is a great way to show your child that you are never too busy for them and that in fact everything you do is for them.

5. Make memories and Go on days out

Experiencing new things is a tonne of fun and Laughter and fun are the best way to stay close. Ted absolutely loves the safari park and aquarium so for us these are our go to days out. This combines both his interests and having fun. These trips aren’t just great for an enjoyable day out they also make great memories. Taking loads of photos (and perhaps scrapbooking them on a family night) Provides fond reflection in later life. I know I love looking through our old family photo albums, they help me remember many great times as a family that I may have otherwise forgotten.

6. Make time for your partner

As parents you are the head of your little family and your relationship can have a big impact on the way children perceive relationships in general. It’s important for both yourselves and your children that you are feeling happy. Self care as a parent is really essential and a great way to care for your relationship is to spend time alone with your partner. This can be hard if you have young children, I absolutely hated going out without my kids at first but I found for me it was easier to go out every once in a while if it was after i’d settled them down for bed . If you don’t have someone that you trust to look after your babies why not have a date night at home? you could cook a nice meal (or get a takeaway) and rent a new movie!

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7. Work together.

This is my personal favourite. As a family there are always going to be times of hardship and times of conflict, it’s only normal. The strongest families are the ones who don’t turn on each other but work together to resolve their problems and support each other. There are very few conflicts that are more important than your family and in the hardest times there is no support net that can hold you like a close family. Working together to overcome these times not only strengthens relationships but lets your children know that you are there for them no matter what.

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