“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues of human society are created, strengthened and maintained.” – Winston Churchill
We’re born into a family before we know what one is. This, however, does not equip us with all the tools we need to bond with them, connect with them and appreciate them.
In short, though becoming a family may feel natural, staying a family who remains bonded, respectful and grateful for each other, requires effort.
This is not to say that it’s hard work. Though at times it can be, it should also be a lot of fun! It involves sharing in activities that help you connect, establishing connections with extended family, dedicating time to being with one another in your home and in the community, and doing things together that remind your family unit that no matter how busy or hard life gets, you’ll always have each other.
National Families Week runs from Saturday 15th-21st of May. We’ve expanded on their quick tips for creating stronger families and stronger communities to help you understand how you can put these ideas into action, and bond with your family in the best possible way.
Take the time to play and have fun with your family.
This sounds basic but can become more difficult the bigger your family gets. When you have children of different ages, or if you’re trying to include your extended family, finding activities everyone can enjoy together may be easier than it sounds.
You can use the below ideas to include as many age groups as possible.
- Have a family BBQ or picnic. Games like three-legged races, egg and spoon races, hide-and-seek-tips and frisbee, require little to no set-up.
- Head to an attraction. Visiting places like the zoo, the aquarium, art galleries and museums bring people of all ages together as they admire what’s on offer.
- Have a local day out together. This can involve lunch, a park, a bushwalk, a trip to the beach…You can find some inspiration in our “A day out…” in the Shire series.
- Puzzles and board games. There are some games that manage to entertain many different age groups. The same classic jigsaw puzzle can interest teenagers all the way up to grandparents. Other games that capture multiple demographics include Pictionary, Celebrity Heads, Taboo, 5 Second Rule, Checkers and Chess.
- Go camping- nothing bonds you like being isolated with no phone reception!
- Other activities include kite flying, bike riding, dog walking, playing cards- and you can find even more family-fun inspiration here.
Build connections with older relatives and community elders.
Visiting grandparents and older aunts and uncles can often mean going to homes where there aren’t any toys or game consoles, and these visits quite likely end in kids complaining that they’re bored and asking to leave.
Avoid this trap by taking along something that will keep the kids busy while also involving their older relatives, like books they can read together, puzzles they can play together or even just some paper and pencils that they can use to make paper aeroplanes or origami, play hangman, or make a game out of drawing each other.
Appreciate your family and community – everyone matters!
Show your family you appreciate them by offering them a “Yes day”. Made popular by the recent Netflix movie starring Jennifer Garner, a “Yes day” is as it sounds- a day where you agree to anything your family suggests. There are, of course, rules and limits that you can (and should) set before the day arrives. Having a “Yes day” includes the whole family, allows you to have fun together, and lets them know you’re grateful for their ongoing contribution to the family unit.
Take time out from technology and enjoy family time together.
Screens get in the way of so many things. We stare at our phones when we should be answering our children, they stare at the TV when they should be listening to us and we’re all beginning to be constantly distracted by notifications.
Grab a bowl, ask everyone to put their devices in it and unplug the TV and modem if you have to! You can do this for a set amount of time each night, each week or during planned family activities- whatever works for you. The important thing is that when screens are off we’re giving each other our full attention and focusing on the people who truly matter to us.
Participate in local events and get to know your community.
Joining local events together is a great way to bond with your family and strengthen your community ties. You can check our “What’s On” page to find events in the Shire that may be of interest to you and your family. And if you’re keen to get to know your community, the Mums of the Shire Facebook group is an excellent place to start!
Stay tuned for five more great tips you can use to strengthen and celebrate your family, coming soon.