10 Tips on Keeping Your Family Close
The pressures of modern day living can be hard on the family. In between work commitments, parent/teacher meetings, after school activities, studying, chores, errands, and more, it can feel almost impossible at times to bring the family together. If you’re left feeling frustrated and feel like something always seems to gets in the way when you want to gather your brood, then maybe you should think about trying these 10 tips on keeping your family close:
1. Communicate openly– Exchange stories and ask each other how your days went. Put down your cell phone for a moment and take the time to really listen to what they did all day.
2. Ban smartphones – OK this might sound a little drastic, but if you or your kids are constantly online and chatting with friends who aren’t in the room, it’s inevitable that the people in the room will get less attention. Learn to turn off your smartphones during certain periods of the day and try to create a rule that every family member respects to use that time for real face-to-face communication.
3. Don’t argue in front of the kids – Fighting in front of your kids, says Dr. Phil, is nothing short of abuse. While it isn’t easy to always keep our tempers, grownups should remember that their children learn by example, so stop and think about what kind you are setting.
4. Put family before friends – While kids need to socialize and have fun, go out with their friends and form bonds outside of the family, bear in mind that while friendship is important, family comes first.
5. Eat dinner together – This can be hard to arrange sometimes between soccer practice, school plays, work commitments, and social life, but eating dinner together as often as possible, without the interruption of the television or cell phones is an excellent way to encourage bonding.
6. Read Together – According to Reading is Fundamental, you should always read with your children. Have a couple of books that the family can read together on a nightly basis, such as bedtime stories to young children or helping your older kids with their homework.
7. Limit children’s after school activities – While a range of extracurricular activities is healthy for your child, if they take on too many, all that will happen is that everyone is left feeling exhausted; you from chauffeuring them around from place to place and your children from over-stimulation. It also detracts from family time, so make sure that afterschool activities are carried out in moderation.
8. Don’t work too much – For families living on a budget or those trying to save for their kids’ college funds, this can be hard, but try to remember, you will never get these moments back with your children and they won’t thank you in the long run if they feel neglected while growing up.
9. Don’t let distance defeat you – If your family is separated by distance, there are ways to use technology to help bring your family together. Schedule time each week to speak with your long-distance family members and try building family blogs, a family website, or photo albums.
10. Encourage sibling harmony – The way your kids act at home will reflect on the way they behave at school and have a lifelong effect on how they act in the world. Encourage siblings to share and get along.
Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.