Family is one of the most valuable things you’ll ever have. Your family circle brings unique opportunities to create long-lasting, life-giving relationships. Unfortunately, many people take these relationships for granted or simply get too busy to make the most of them.
It doesn’t have to be that way with your family. Here are seven ways you can beat this mindset and treat your family well this year.
Communication is the lifeline of any quality relationship. Without touching base, you won’t know what’s going on with your kids, parents, or other extended family. Prioritize intentional conversations, and don’t just stick to the everyday stuff – go deep, and find out what your family members are really thinking and feeling.
Remember, not every conversation you have with your children should be for the goal of correcting them. Relationships are developed through a combination of genuine interest, honesty, and shared laughter. If your kids think you have an agenda every time you talk, they’ll be less likely to open up to you.
Get Off Your Phone
You’ve likely heard this advice before, but in this screen-saturated world, you can probably benefit from hearing it again. Getting off your phone will open up a world of opportunities for connecting with your family and giving them the attention they deserve.
Some family members connect primarily through their phones, and that’s wonderful. However, many other people experience phone time as a distraction from the present. Try banning yourself from social media for a week, and watch as your family relationships begin to flourish.
Volunteering as a family is a wonderful way to bond while showing your kids the importance of giving to others. Many people secretly believe that buying more things and gaining more wealth will make them happy. It’s a surprise to most to realize that giving is where true joy is found.
You can set your kids on the path to fulfillment by teaching them to value giving and caring for others from a very young age. There’s no better way to teach this principle than to model it with your actions. You may even be surprised by the way it impacts you and what you care about.
Take Rest Days
Modern families often have a packed schedule, filling every minute with activity or some necessary chore. Do your family a favor this year and give yourself permission to slow down. There’s no reason to involve each of your kids in a separate sport event and give them all music lessons.
Regardless of age, everyone needs time to think, process, and dream. Without recharging time, parents aren’t able to address conflicts, keep tabs on how their kids are doing, and protect themselves from burnout. Be intentional about resting, and don’t forget to encourage elderly relatives to rest too.
Plan Quality Time
Quality time is all about the quality you give to time. By being more intentional, you may be able to increase the quality of your family time without changing anything in your schedule. For example, try turning off the music or any other distractions while driving, and ask your kids questions instead.
One-on-one time is different – this is time you give to one family member, with no distractions and a focus on having fun together. Time spent with just one child or extended family member makes them feel special and builds deep bonds. Plan quality one-on-one times to give your family members more of what they really want – your time.
Have Dance Parties
Being silly with your family is a great way to show your kids they are safe, loved, and free to be themselves. Of course, this only works if their parents are silly too. Having a dance party or Nerf gun fight is a great way to create deeper bonds and create hilarious memories.
You can take this principle as far as your family would like, from splashing in mud puddles to combining multiple board games Sally Forth style. You may be surprised at how much you need a dose of fun as a parent – and how rewarding it is to let your hair down with your family.
A lot of unnecessary frustration and family friction comes from comparison and unhappiness with the status quo. However, the grass on the other side is rarely as green as it looks from far away. Invest in your family’s wellbeing by embracing gratitude instead of frustration.
As your focus shifts, your level of satisfaction will too. For instance, teaching your kids to be grateful for their food should reduce bickering about portions at dinner. Practicing gratefulness doesn’t mean ignoring real issues – it’s a perspective change that invites hope even when times are hard.
Cue the Music
It’s your turn to be honest with yourself about how you can invest in your family this year. If some of the items on this list resonated with you, start there. Taking even one small step can have a big impact on your family dynamics.
The new year inspires many people to make changes to their lives and close the gap between where they are and where they want to be. However, every moment is an opportunity for change – you don’t have to wait for the new year to start investing in healthier family relationships!
About The Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you’ll find herin a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.