5 Ideas for Family Bonding Time

As one year comes to a close, I like to examine how I can make the next year even better! This year, I’d like to increase our family bonding time.  With my sons getting older and able to communicate better, our family life improved…some. However, there are still those times of chaos that cause family dissension.  So this year, we are working to improve our family bonding time so that, hopefully, the chaos will occur less often.


5 Ideas for Family Bonding Time

1. Reduce stress in our family life. 

Life is stressful. Add Reactive Attachment Disorder and behavior issues to the equation, and life as a family can become a chaotic mess.  And some of this stress comes from ourselves. As parents, we tend to parent our children to our expectations. For instance, a 5-year-old should be able to sit still at a table in a restaurant.  But Dr. Karyn Purvis states that children can be a certain age chronologically, and up to 40% younger developmentally.  To reduce stress in our family, we have to be willing to adjust our expectations and embrace a “different kind of normal.” Being a “perfect parent” isn’t the goal. Our goal should be to love our children the way they need to be loved – the way God has called us to love  so that we can create a strong family bond.

2. Plan menus and make mealtime preparation a family activity.

Study after study shows that the more often families eat together, the less likely the kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders, become overweight, and consider suicide—and the more likely they are to eat their vegetables, know which fork to use, learn big words, do well in school, feel that their parents love them, and delay having sex. And that’s just for starters.” {from The Hour that Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal by Les & Leslie Parrott} Eating dinner together is a priority in our family and has promoted bonding during difficult times. I believe our family time together is the reason that my adult stepson hasn’t gone off the deep end and some of his friends have.  However, meal preparation time can add immense stress to our evenings, and the kids may not like the foods we fix.  By planning and preparing meals together with the kids, I hope to add a sense of ownership to the food on the table and encourage the kids to eat better.  Another resolution for our family is to reduce soft drinks and red dye in our diet.

3. Make family devotion time a priority.

Our family devotion time before bed has just fallen by the wayside during this school year. Since we are in the lifestage of eliminating naps, many days the kids are exhausted and grumpy, and may even fall asleep right after dinner.  This year, we will be making family devotion time a part of our nightly dinner together. My favorite devotional for my young boys is the Little Boys Bible Storybook for Mothers and Sons (new edition to be released soon).  I love how the author actively tells the Bible stories to keep the attention of a young boy. For instance, the story of Noah building the ark is told from the viewpoint of Noah’s sons as boys with the lesson of obeying God even if you don’t want to.  The discussion section creates incredible family bonding time: “Remind your son of a time he obeyed and tell him how happy it made you.” I love how my sons can learn how to apply the Bible lessons in their young lives.

help children deepen their personal prayer life.
make it part of your weekly routine as a family to center the thoughts of the home on God. – See more at: http://www.faughnfamily.com/006/#sthash.ZYz04h6y.dpuf

4. Limit screen time and encourage more creative activities.

Our family is inundated with various “screens” — television (now with nonstop kids programming), Netflix available on multiple devices, video games on the wii, Playstation, Kindle, and iPhone.  And it becomes so easy to let the kids “entertain themselves” with the technology I didn’t have as a child.  But with added screen time, my kids are losing time in imaginative play and family bonding time.  Just being together in the same room isn’t enough for family bonding if there is no interaction.

5. Schedule family game nights.

Now that our youngest can count and identify shapes and colors, he can participate in games with the family, such as this easy Go Fish game.  The fabulous book, The Whole-Brain Child, encourages families to make it point to have fun together to help children bond with others. Children seem to immediately connect with laughter. Increasing the “family fun factor” helps build relationships: “Recent studies have found that the best predictor for good sibling relationships later in life is how much fun the kids have together when they’re young. The rate of conflict can even be high, as long as there’s plenty of fun to balance it out.

What ideas do you have to increase family bonding time?

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