Strong families don’t just happen by accident, they are made. Strong family relationships are made over time day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Nurture strong family bonds with these seven activities to strengthen family relationships.
Here’s the deal. As I write this I am the mom of three boys. Ages seventeen, fifteen, and two.
My older boys are in the full swing of raging teenage hormones. Their needs and moods change drastically from one day to the next.
One minute you are their best friend but the next they want to be left alone.
And then there’s the two year old. His needs and wants are easy or at least more predictable.
Nurturing positive family relationships between all of us….teens, toddler, mom, and dad is something that my husband and I have tried to make a priority in our home throughout the years.
There are of course many different ways of nurturing positive relationships within the family.
Here are just seven of the most important things I believe have helped us have strong family ties and a firm foundation on which to build on.
Seven Activities to Strengthen Family Relationships
- Make family meals a priority.
- Establish family traditions throughout the year.
- Have a family game night.
- Schedule one-on-one time with each member of the family at least a couple of times a year. This is especially important for larger families.
- Be involved in each family members interests.
- Forgive one another in difficult times.
- Have weekly or nightly family devotions.
Share at least one meal time together
I know how busy schedules can get.
Even if my husband and I have the time to sit and have meals together every day, the teenagers most likely can’t.
They have sports, part-time jobs, friends, hobby’s, or even sleep will take their time.
But I encourage you to pick one meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner to eat together as a family at least two or three times a week.
Sitting together around the dinner table not only builds strong relationships, but studies have shown that it also positively affects the nutritional health of children and teens.
Make it a rule for the whole family (adults included) that no electronic devices are allowed at meal times. That way everyone’s full attention will be on each other. This is the time to check in with everyone and ask questions. How are they doing in school? What plans does everyone have for the weekend?
If you don’t have teenagers yet but you have toddlers and young children, then now is the time to make meals together a regular thing. Something that is expected on a regular basis through their growing up years.
Establish family traditions throughout the year
Nothing brings families together more than special occasions.
Traditions create the space and time for family bonding more than anything else I think, because it brings families together.
Birthday celebrations and holiday’s are a given but try to have a tradition or something special your family can look forward to every month.
If you need some inspiration for creative ways to introduce new traditions to your family, I recommend you read the book The Life Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. This book is chuck full of simple things you can implement into your families life to encourage quality family time and create memories that last. Here’s a quote form the back of the book:
“The Life-giving Home will lead you on a new path to creating special memories for your children; establishing God-centered traditions; and cultivating an environment your family will cherish their whole lives long.”
Family game night
This doesn’t have to be just board games (unless board games are your jam), it can be whatever interests your family most!
- card games
- family movie night complete with snacks
- fly kites at the local park or throw a frisbee
- play ball games…Spike ball is a fun one
- Any physical activity, especially if you have boys
- Try making new foods together
- Have an ongoing family puzzle
- Organize a scavenger hunt or obstacle course
- Play charades
- Play hide and seek
- Have a water balloon fight
- Play corn hole
- Go on a mini road trip or plan one out for a long weekend
- Tell jokes
- You get the idea, just get creative and have a good time!
Anything your entire family considers a fun activity can be part of your family’s game night. As Miss Frizzle would say, “take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”
Did I just age myself with that quote? haha Name that show!
Schedule one-on-one time with each member of the family
Whole family togetherness is great but to really have strong family connections with each individual member you need quality time spent with each one.
I encourage you to make the extra effort to do this at least once or twice a year with each person, especially for those of you with larger families.
I have an awesome list of 115 date ideas for moms of teen boys, but you could really use many of the ideas on that list for teen girls or even younger children as well.
And it should go without saying, that mom and dad need to make their relationship a top priority in the home.
When mom and dad’s relationship is strong it sets a strong foundation for a healthy family environment for everyone in the home.
Don’t make one-on-one time complicated, it doesn’t have to be a grand event. Take twenty to thirty minutes one evening and strike a conversation. Go on a walk or run. Have an ice cream cone together. Help with homework. Help them with a project. Make a snack together.
Small things and gestures can go a long way to build a positive parent-child relationship or husband and wife relationship.
Be involved in each family members interests.
You can even combine this with spending one on one time with your kids or spouse. Let me give you an example:
My fifteen year old loves, loves, loves basketball. He’s been playing basketball since he was four years old. When he was younger I would shoot basketballs with him on the little tykes hoop he had. Now he is on the high school basketball team which means we now have volunteer opportunities together. Last week he and I worked the concessions stand for the girls basketball team.
His dad has one-on-one time with him a couple of times a month by taking him to the gym and working on his shooting and i’m sure other things that I have no idea about.
Each persons interests will be different but try to be genuinely interested in the things they love to do. Ask questions and be involved in as much as they want you to be. When they’re little is easy because you have to take them to whatever activity they want to do but when they’re old enough to drive it gets a bit more tricky.
If they play sports or are in any type of competition make sure to go watch them often. You should be their number one cheerleader!
Maybe it’s not a sport they’re interested in. Maybe its a hobby like sewing or painting or knitting, or cooking. Take an interest in those things. Supply them with the tools they need to feed their imagination. Proudly display their creations around your home and show them off to visitors. These are some of the best ways to make them feel loved and feed their self confidence.
Forgive one another in difficult times.
Listen. We’re all human. Mistakes are going to be made by everyone of us.
Your kids are going to mess up, your spouse is going to mess up, and yes, you are going to mess up.
Tempers will be lost and feelings will get hurt.
It’s important to ask for forgiveness when we have messed up and it’s important to forgive the people around us.
Show mercy and grace in your home to your children and spouse.
Make these things part of your family culture. Add them to your family mission statement if you have one written up.
Life is full of learning experiences, and those most often then not can be used as a great opportunity to teach our young people real life lessons.
Have weekly or nightly family devotions.
Another one that is easier to do when all the kids are still little, but oh so worthwhile to include as often as you can into your family life.
We started having nightly family devotions when our boys were three and one years old. We would read a very short story from their first children’s bible and then we would hold hands together and pray.
As they got older the readings were a bit longer and we would have discussions about the text, which would then turn into talks about life and things they were currently dealing with, always ending with prayer. Family devotion time was always a safe place where they could talk to us about anything, without fear of getting into trouble.
Now that the older boys are in high school, it’s a little harder to do because they are not both always home at the same time.
But I still try to have it, even if it’s not nearly as often as when they were little boys.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Activities to strengthen family relationships
Activities to strengthen family relationships closing thoughts
Just one more thing that I would add to this list is physical touch.
Hug and kiss your kids and spouse every single day!
Even if physical touch doesn’t come naturally to you, try to be affectionate to your loved ones in this way.
Another book I would recommend is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This book will teach you what each love language is, and then it will teach you how to figure out which one or two your own children respond to. Learning in what ways your kids feel unconditionally loved and paying special attention to those will help you build strong relationships that will sustain through the years.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these seven activities to strengthen family relationships.
Every family is so different! What have you found helps nurture a strong bond in your family?