12 Wonderful Ways To Bond With Your Kids
When a bit of free time comes around - especially when you’re a parent - it can feel like a rarity. Even if you have weekends off work, it can seem as though you just don’t have the time to really sit back and relax and spend some quality weekends with your kids.
I completely feel you. Even with our flexible traveling lifestyle and working from home, that doesn't mean that free time just lands in our lap! If you want down time to simply connect, you have to get intentional about creating it.
I’ve put together 12 ways that you can take some time out to bond with your family so that your relationships are as strong as they possibly can be, regardless of what your day-to-day life is like!
1. Read A Book Before Bedtime
Nowadays a lot of people sit on their phones or tablets at night, or watch TV with their kids until bedtime comes around. I'll admit, "Netflix and chill" is pretty sweet, and there are some pretty incredible shows and documentaries we've all enjoyed together.
However, reading a story to your children can really help you to bond together, as you’ll be able to discuss it afterwards, and it’s time that you’re spending with them without a screen being involved. Not only this, but reading (and listening to) stories is great for the development of young brains, and it will also be great for yours, too. Ditch the TV and pick up the book instead.
I have had so much fun reading the Wrinkle In Time quintet with my girls. What a great fantasy series that grapples with some deeper issues, uses big words, and is all around an excellent walk down memory lane of reading it in my own childhood, and now experiencing it again through my children's eyes. Each one had it's on intricate story, and the girls loved the big vocabulary words and mixture of science and physics that was in it as well!
2. Pass On Your Knowledge
This isn't just about homeschooling families - this is for everyone! No matter what type of "school" your children do, you are the first teacher they know. Yes, YOU are teaching them, so you might as well get intentional about it!
Your children, no matter what you may think, really look up to you, and they will see you as a fountain of knowledge. Young kids, especially, think that their parents can do no wrong, and that nothing in the world can phase them.
So teaching your little ones the things that you have learned over the years, whether it is how to put on makeup, or how to cook dinner, will have them watching with awe and amazement. Do your best to get them involved (by giving them little tasks, for example) as this is really great for family bonding.
3. Get Outside
Sometimes, all it really takes to ensure that you’re bonding with your kids is to simply go on a walk together so they really get some time to talk to you one-on-one.
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, your kids may feel like you’re not really around to chat, and it can be a difficult balance to strike between being overbearing and not being that listening ear that your children need. If you go on a walk, your kids will have the opportunity to tell you things at their own pace.
Especially for your quieter more passive children, sometimes the side-by-side approach is the best way to approach deeper issues, so walks and car rides are often a safe place for deep discussions. This is a good way to share things as a family.
4. Make A Family Day
Putting a day aside - even if it is only one day a month - will really help you to ensure that you’re always spending quality time together. If you know that a family day is coming up, you won’t book anything else in, and you’ll be completely free to relax with your kids and share some fun experiences while you have the opportunity.
Go back to what your family vision is. Are you getting intentional about creating those feelings in your home?
If you don’t know how you’re supposed to make time for your family, schedule it in. This can help you to clear your head, and ensure that you’re not leaving them behind. We all have the same hours in the day, and we make time for what is a priority to us. If you can book a business meeting, you can book time for your family as well.
5. Get A Hobby Together
One of the best ways to bond with your kids is to get a hobby together. You can look forward to this time each week, even if it’s only for an hour. This is such a great way to find those common interests.
Although we're not much for organized sports, recently a friend shared about their new love of baseball with their kids. You can get parent and youth baseball uniforms and hit the ball field as a family. Not only does this help you to get in some exercise together (and also cut down screen time) but you’ll all be learning new skills together. Put aside an hour a week and do something that you all love as a team.
6. Be Silly Sometimes
Your relationship with your children is entirely dependent upon your attitude towards them. If they always see you as a stern figure, it’s unlikely they will want to share too much with you.
Doing something silly sometimes, like jumping in puddles with your kids and joining in with their games is a great way for you to bond with them.
7. Cook Together
Another way to bond with your kids is to cook as a family, and there are plenty of recipes out there that aren’t too difficult (especially when you have a chaotic kitchen full of children).
Of course, you need to make sure that you’re always keeping an eye on your kids and their safety, but this is also a good opportunity to teach them some skills (for example, why they shouldn’t touch knives or a hot pan). Look into the recipes that are online and cook something brilliant together if you want to bond!
8. Go On A Boat Ride
If you live near to a river or the ocean, why not go on a boat ride together? A rowing boat is a good idea if you’re looking to inspire a bit of teamwork, so look at where you could hire one near you.
If you’re all swapping around places (which is difficult, and funny, enough in itself) you’ll be working together to make sure that you get where you’re going, and there is nothing that helps bonding quite like a challenge. Encourage everybody to give it a go (especially your stubborn teenagers)!
I personally am a huge fan of paddleboards - it's such a great way to really see what's in the water below you, and it's a true act in balance when you throw a kid or two on it!
9. Build Something
Another great way to bond as a family is to build something, like a treehouse (or even a model of a treehouse if you’re not quite sure that you’re ready to commit to the real thing yet).
Not only will you all learn new skills, but you’ll have something that you can all look out on that you built together. There is something powerful about working together, putting hard work and effort into a project. When you are invested in something, it means that much more. Having your kids actually help to create a play structure is a great way to ensure they'll actually use it!
Creating something as a family is a great way to share your goals while also having a project together, so think about the things that you could create. We've had a blast building lean-to's and fairy houses all over the country.
10. Do Something Memorable
Sometimes, you need to push the boat out a little and do something that your kids will remember for a long time. Why not do something like an outdoors adventure, where you can all go on rope swings and do other adrenaline filled things?
You have to think outside of the box sometimes and see what you can come up with that will never escape your kid’s minds. Don't just stress about a big expense - you can do a family vacation even on a budget.
A huge shift is when you start to look at things from a different perspective. Instead of "can I afford it?" Ask, "is this a worthwhile investment?" Sometimes it's more of an investment of your time. Sometimes, it does cost, yet the memories you create makes it worth every penny.
In 2015, we completely surprised the girls in the middle of the day, showing up at the zoo where their babysitter had taken them and taking them out to lunch and then to the airport. We had their bags all packed, travel backpacks stocked, and a whole month planned in Costa Rica! It was a grand adventure they talk about regularly. Juliet had just turned three the month before, yet the memories she has from Costa Rica are pretty incredible - it definitely made a lasting impact!
11. Go On A Road Trip
A road trip with a car full of kids may not sound like a brilliant idea, but there is something to say for this when it comes to bonding. Not only will you have a lot of time to talk things over, but you’ll be able to see different parts of the country (and world) together.
It may seem like it’s not really great to be stuck in a car with your family for long periods of time, but it can be just what you need to get your relationships as close as they should be, so give this a go before you write it off as a bad idea!
12. Tell Them Stories About Your Past
Your kids will definitely know one side of you, and that’s as the parent. But have you given them glimpses into your life pre-kids? Whether you tell them about their family history (which will really help them to understand their identities in context) or you just tell them funny little stories about your life, it will really help them to get to know you, outside of your role as a parent. This will also help them to develop the art of storytelling, so that they can share their stories with you, too.
If you want to bond with your kids more, but you don’t really know where to start, why not try out some of these things?
Whether you get a hobby together or you just share your stories, you’ll be glad that you took the time away from it all, and made time solely for your family.
After all, you can always earn more money when Monday comes around, but you’ll never get the time back if you miss your kids as they are growing up. The strength of the relationships that you have now will define how strong your relationships with your kids are in the future.
Remember, there are no roll-over minutes in life.
How are you spending your time with the ones you love?
Good luck creating memories that last a lifetime and teaching your kids all that you know, just by being there for them. Hopefully, you will have a strong family for many years to come, and you’ll be meeting up for that family bike ride 20 years down the line!
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