2022-10-03
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Strong family bonds make a world of difference. Family members lean on each other, build memories, and enjoy time together. A 50-year review in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology links rituals and routines with stronger family bonds. The connection between family members last when they meet a person’s needs of acceptance and belonging.

The relationships are supported through memories that reflect time invested in each other, both struggles that were overcome together and happy experiences. Investing in the family happens through showing approval and supporting each other, making the home a haven. Look at your family bonds. Think about the things you do together and your shared experiences. Ask your kids what they like doing as a family, what activities they want to do again, and what new things they want to try.

When children can have a say, they feel more empowered. Ask for their help planning and carrying out activities so they’ll be more involved and feel like part of the team. Communication is key to creating lasting bonds, so talk about endeavors and include everyone’s ideas. Listening to everyone helps them feel affirmed and valued, especially when they see their ideas come to life. Here are some things to help families bond forever.

Traditions.

Traditions reveal and reinforce family beliefs and values with significant and recurring practices. They also celebrate the culture and history of a family. Decorations, stories, and rituals create favorite memories, whether the family opens gifts or games associated with the special day. Involving grandparents can bridge generations, and studies show their interaction increases the father’s involvement and lowers maternal stress. Pictures capture the memories and joy you share.

The tradition of carving the turkey at Thanksgiving, 4th of July picnics, and lighting the Christmas tree every year bring up favorite memories. For some, the smell of certain foods invokes images of the associated tradition and family. Special ones, like the way holiday stories, are shared, the passing of a trophy to the winner of a holiday game, or an heirloom tree topper, make it a distinctive tradition.

Making a tradition can be as simple as putting together a family capsule every decade, creating a family handshake, or starting a family service project. Enjoy your traditions but take the time to make new ones.

Rituals and routines.

Predictable routines encourage healthier and better-behaved kids. They fall asleep faster and sleep better. They feel secure and like they belong when parents give consistent care. These patterns in early life become the building blocks for lasting relationships. A nighttime routine may start with piggyback rides, storytime, brushing teeth, and a goodnight kiss. A shared exchange or song will also add to the bonding.

A short phrase like “It’s bedtime” prompts the transition into the nighttime routine. Routines give comfort and security with predictable cycles as part of feeling like they belong. Weekly habits like church or family movie nights also give familiar experiences connecting us to our community. Bar mitzvahs, getting a driver’s license, or confirmations are also rituals that families celebrate together.

Children look forward to these times and others where the family sees them as more grown up. Share these routines, faith connections, and other reasons for their significance so children will appreciate you. These are also the building blocks of bonds and are related to family traditions.

Play and laughter.

A study by Concordia University confirms that the family that plays together stays together. Laughter and play are the glue that bonds generations. This bonding may include grandparents sharing their hobbies or grandchildren showing grandparents their hobbies. We create happy memories when we laugh as we play, from board games to sharing in imaginary tea parties. Basic activities of everyday play and backyard fun don’t cost much.

Other more costly activities like amusement parks or horseback riding require more time, planning, and money. Still, the anticipation for these activities builds excitement. Family plays create better behavior and decreases the possibility of children choosing dangerous activities as they grow into their teen years. It can also enhance school performance and lowers stress hormones so everyone can get along.

Family stories.

Culture creates a sense of family identity. Sharing the lifestyle and family ethnic background into adulthood builds a sense of identity. Sharing foods, customs and stories deepens the family and connects them. This sharing also encourages adopting family values among individual family members. These stories may show colorful and unique relatives or ancestors who learned lessons that inspire us to follow our dreams and embrace the family’s uniqueness.

Knowing what shaped parents and gave them the courage to work hard will build bridges of understanding. Heirlooms, letters, and recordings add validity that saves the family identity. Include children in traditions by celebrating the family’s heritage. Allow children to decorate with pictures or memorabilia to learn more about the family’s customs, history, and favorite foods. Enhance the connections through museum trips and local events celebrating your cultural backgrounds.

Family meals.

Food is central to relationships. The family meal is a pillar of a nuclear family that keeps family members united even if it doesn’t last long. The rhythmic action of sharing food, sitting together, and conversing has numerous benefits. Meals can be a way of making the day special. Making a meal into a family fun night or an extravaganza can turn a regular meal into a memorable event and enhances our lives. A meal can be the highlight of your day and a way to strengthen bonds. A meal is a perfect place to plan activities, trips, and other opportunities for bonding.

Spending time together as a family is essential for all family members. It helps deepen connections and create memories that will last a lifetime. If you feel like your family doesn’t spend enough time together, try your best to start thinking of ways that your family could spend more time together. Whether it’s a family meal or planning a vacation, you won’t regret the decision to spend more time together.

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