Strong relationships are not built in a day, and that includes our relationship with our family. With kids, experts cannot emphasize enough the importance of the benefits of quality bonding time.
Research conducted by Denise Pope, senior lecturer at Stanford University and co-founder of Challenge Success, and her colleagues categorize the bonding as playtime, downtime and family time. Children, from toddler to teen, need all three every day because they can lead to a significant impact on a child’s capacity to thrive physically, mentally and academically. They’re also closely related to building “crucial life skills that kids need in order to become happy and healthy adults,” said Pope. (Read the rest of the article here.)
Here are 10 ways to constantly reconnect and strengthen family bonds for a joyful home.
#1 Grow food together There are a few things more gratifying than growing what you eat and eating what you grow. Vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers if space is limited. Mushrooms are also easy to grow even indoors. Fruiting bags can be bought and then kept in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room.
You only need good quality seeds/cuttings (available in garden supply stores, supermarkets or maybe your neighbor), rich soil, water, sunshine, and patience. You may also take a trip to a neighborhood farm and experience planting or harvesting crops like rice and vegetables.
#2 Prepare food together A meal is yummier when seasoned with love. Sharing chores in cooking and cleaning up can be a delightful bonding routine. Entrust children with age-appropriate tasks, and let them know that their contribution, however little, matters.
"Bake some goodies together. Either from scratch or from pre-made mixes, it is always so much fun," shares Jia Monserrat, a homeschooling mom of two. A dough-kneading activity is making fresh pasta. It is surprisingly simple and easy to do that even my 2-year old joins in! All you need is flour, eggs, and salt. No pasta maker? No problem! Use rolling pin and pizza cutter.
#3 Make mealtimes merry Mealtime should be a happy family affair. Create an atmosphere of warmth and joy as family members gather around the table. Dining together presents opportunities for refreshing conversations after a hectic day. Model good habits: Make healthy food choices, turn off television, and put away phones.
#4 Sing together Music is a wonderful tool to foster emotional attachment. Babies love to hear the familiar sounds of their parents’ voice and grows to associate their favorite songs as part of the environment where they feel safe and loved.
Use songs to signal transitions in routine like a clean-up song to let them know playtime is over. Our family even made up our own washing and toothbrushing song. Have a playlist ready for your car trips and sing together to pass time away.
#5 Craft toys for and with your children My lolo making toys for us was one of my fondest childhood memories. He made a wooden scooter, kadang-kadang na bao, duyan, turumpo, sungka, kiddie-sized magtataho buckets hanging from a yoke (made from used cans and a stick), bamboo gun that shoots paper bullets, and even tiny wire hangers for my paper doll dresses.
Now it’s my turn to make toys for and with my children. I enjoy using my love for sewing, crocheting, and doll-making in creating something unique for them. We’ve made dolls, puppets, stuffed animals, felt and stick swords, crowns, and yarn ropes, among others. It is always a delight to watch them play and treasure the toys made especially for them.
#6 Play games together Remember when you were a kid and you used to play piko, luksong baka, and patintero? As a child, the games I had enjoyed the most were jackstones, sungka, and garter games like 'ten-twenty’ and chinese garter. It will be fun to teach and play these games with your kids. Grab any opportunity to have some outdoor fun. Mommy Joy Lojo, a homeschooling mom, plays board games like Millionaire's Game and Monopoly with her husband and their preschooler.
#7 Immerse them into your grown-up world Bring your family to your workplace so they may understand and appreciate what you do when you are away. The kids and I often visit my husband at the university where he teaches. We spend time with him and his colleagues and even take part in some of their events. As a breastfeeding peer counselor and educator, I bring the whole family to my classes. They are also deeply involved in our advocacy that they love sharing what they know about breastfeeding to anyone who would listen.
#8 Tell or read stories Storytelling lets a child and parent focus on each other and be engrossed in the story’s events simultaneously. Our bedtime routine includes stories just before good night kisses. It’s a gentle way to slow down and transition from active time to sleeping time.
Children find comfort and security in having rhythm in the home. They thrive knowing that a part of their day is going to unfold the same way.
#9 Enjoy time with your spouse It needs to be just the two of you although it’s not always easy to find time for each other. Constantly invest in growing deeper in your companionship. Schedule date nights, experience new things, or go for a walk.
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#10 Grow in faith together Dedicate your Sundays to attending church service together. Get to know Him more and have a fellowship with other families.
Include a quiet time or devotional into your daily routine. My preschooler and I spend a few minutes everyday on our Bible devotion. We would read a verse or two, talk about it, and pray. She would then express what she learned with her drawings or crafts. I found these references — Gospel and Old Testament — that offer weekly themes presented in daily lessons very useful.