Family bonding, like long-term relationships, can also get boring over time. When you do the same things over and over again, like watching movies, playing board games, and eating, the excitement for those activities will eventually wear off, especially when the kids become teens.
Sadly, instead of spicing up their activities, most families just maintain what’s comfortable. Sometimes, they’d even be contented glued to their own smartphones, because as long as they’re sitting on the same couch, it still counts as bonding.
But quality time is essential in every family bonding. You can eat meals together every day, but if you’re not having quality time, the activity is ultimately useless. It will do nothing in strengthening your relationship. And the worst part is, parents and children only realize their mistake after a long time, and wish that they had tried harder.
So before reaching that point, spice up your family bonding now, and watch your kids grow closer to you.
Get Involved in Your Children’s Interest
One reason kids rebel is the absence of their family’s support in a particular activity or field that they like. For example, music. Some parents react unpleasantly when their child reveals that they’d like to be a singer or a musician someday. As a result, the child will feel rejected, which may draw them away from their parents until they find support from the wrong crowd.
You are not required to like your children’s interests, but at least try to get involved. If they love a specific sport, watch a game with them, or surprise them with front row tickets for a live game. It would be nice if you can also try to engage in their hobbies, like reading, for example. If you see them getting lost in a gripping fantasy series, consider giving that series a read too, so that you and your child can be fans of it together.
By showing your support through those simple ways, your child will feel confident that they can pursue anything they want without upsetting you.
Use Technology in Creative Ways
Our screens may have diminished our quality family time, but it’s unfair to demonize technology altogether. Dr. Amanda Gummer of Good Play Guide doesn’t recommend banning mobile devices. Instead, she suggests creating a more balanced kind of play. She compares play to food, in which the “superfoods” are the active, outdoor, and social child-led play, while the “sweets and chocolates” are the low-key and passive play, like Minecraft or The Sims.
Having both superfoods and sweets and chocolates in your quality family time is necessary to create a balance. When you ban sweets and chocolates, you’re depriving your kids of today’s basic form of entertainment, which is the internet. Plus, they likely see you with your smartphone and laptop all the time, defeating the purpose of the ban.
Just keep the electronic usage in moderation, as you would with indulgent treats. Use technology in creative ways as well to boost your quality family time. Try making vlogs, shooting a homemade movie, or playing a family-friendly video game.
Make a Tradition
Every family has a tradition, but most of them are the ones they’ve inherited from the past generations. These include Christmas extended family gatherings and Thanksgiving dinners with the grandparents.
You can still keep those traditions to honor your parents and in-laws, but make your own unique tradition as well to define your family’s identity. Maybe you want to have a pumpkin carving contest every Halloween, and to go skiing at first snowfall. Consider those fun family traditions, so that every year, your kids will look forward to pumpkin harvest and Obermeyer kids’ jackets. (Yes, it’s good to choose a specific brand, because your kids will associate it with good memories in time.)
Introduce your kids to volunteering as young as seven or eight years old. This activity will help them reach a milestone that they’ll carry until adulthood, and that’s putting others before themselves. Have them donate their old clothes and toys, and teach them that old things are treasures to somebody else. Your kid may act fussy as they part ways with their belongings, but the earlier they get used to it, the more giving will become second-nature to them.
You can also help your kid reach this milestone by letting them participate in a competition. This will teach them to accept defeat (in case it happens) and wholeheartedly congratulate their opponent.
You’d know that your family bonding has paid off when your kids grow up as responsible, compassionate, and confident adults. Keep spicing things up, because you’ll influence your children to do the same with their own families someday.