Winter is a season with many changes: it’s usually cold (depending on where you live), the night comes much earlier in the day, and there are back-to-back holidays and school and work breaks that switch up your schedule. Sometimes we get so bogged down with our obligations and holiday planning that we start living on autopilot and forget to live in the moment. Now is the perfect time to create space to bond with your kids.
To recharge and refresh your family relationship, try some of these suggestions to see what works for you.
Have dinner together at the table at least twice a week.
This can be tough with your work schedule and the kids in sports and after-school activities, but incorporating some quality time together benefits your children’s development, eating habits, and bonding. Make an effort as often as you can!
Studies show kids of families who sit down at the table to share a meal each day have fewer behavioral struggles than those who don’t.
Even if you’re eating a snack together at 8 p.m. after everybody’s at home, make it a habit. You’ll get the opportunity to connect with each other by listening to what happened in each kid’s day and hearing about their interests.
Schedule quality time each week with each member of your family.
Set aside time to schedule at least 30 minutes a week separately with each family member.
You could read aloud to the four-year-old, take a bike ride with the ten-year-old, and talk about music and school with the 15-year-old. Maybe you could go out for coffee or a walk around the block to chat with your partner.
Having that time set aside outside of everyone’s packed schedule is essential for building strong connections.
Demonstrate a genuine interest in whatever your kids and partner are involved in.
Remind yourself to ask questions about things they’ve shared with you in the past. Your partner may have had a big project at work, your son was dealing with a frustrating incident at school, or your daughter got into it with one of her friends.
Get to know what each family member is interested in so you can have real conversations with them about the things that matter to them.
Plan monthly season-themed special activities as a family.
Creating family traditions is something your kids will remember for a lifetime. Try doing something similar each year based on a theme to keep it simple for you. For example:
In December, come up with a craft for your holiday that you can create each year to see how they change over time.
In February, make Valentine’s Day cards and gifts for each other.
In March, find a new attraction near your area.
Take turns and share tasks together.
Working together builds many different skills in your kids and allows you to get things done while spending time with your family. Let them help out by giving each person a task to accomplish the larger goal together,
For example, when making breakfast, have the little ones set out bowls and juice glasses while the twelve-year-old gets the milk, orange juice, and cereal. Teens can help a parent scramble the eggs or watch the younger ones.
When you each take responsibility for a part of routine tasks, it promotes cooperation among all of you as a group, strengthening your connections to one another.
Express your love and affection daily.
Make it a habit to hug each other or come up with a special handshake before leaving and returning home. You can also establish a bedtime routine that gives everyone some attention in their love language.
This allows you to consistently express the love and care you feel toward your beloved family. These daily expressions of love can be the glue to ensure your family stays close and loving.
Also, you’re teaching your kids how to do the same, and this reciprocity goes miles when it comes to enhancing the family’s relationships.