9 Helpful Ways to Make Time for Bonding With Your Kids
Trying to spend quality time with your children while still managing work, outside obligations, and extracurricular activities can be really tough, particularly as your children get older. Though you may long to build a stronger connection with your family, it can be challenging with the number of commitments many parents have on their plates these days. If you’re left constantly feeling drained, exhausted, and overwhelmed, you may be struggling to juggle your family’s school, work, and social activities. Take a look at these strategies for how to bond with your kids and bring more balance to your family’s schedule.
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1. Make Family Time Your Priority
Putting your family ahead of other commitments is the key to finding more time to bond with your kids. That may mean setting limits on technology use or laying down tighter boundaries when it comes to your workload. Family bonds are created when you invest time with your children. Taking a daily walk together or having dinner as a family a few nights a week can have positive long-term effects. It doesn’t have to be a massive investment of time, but it should be regular and consistent to develop deep bonds. Prioritizing family time will help you focus on your relationship goals and create a more content, well-adjusted family.
2. Have Designated Family Time Once a Week
Establishing a regular day or evening that’s just for quality time can go a long way toward creating a family bond. Use that time to unwind with your kids and talk to each other.
Whether it’s pizza night, playing board games, or taking a long walk together, the goal is to plan for having at least a weekly established time for family togetherness. Consider attending community events together, like festivals or concerts. You can even make snow days or bad weather days special by baking cookies, binging a favorite television show, or working on puzzles. Try to prioritize having meals together when possible, even if it’s only a couple of times a week. Research has shown that consistently having a meal together has a positive effect on children. Whatever you decide to do, the important thing is that you spend time together as a family.
3. Evaluate Your Other Commitments
Agreeing to too many outside activities can take away quality time from your family. Athletic practices, rehearsals, and even volunteer projects may require a lot of additional time and practice. Consider whether some of these activities are worth the investment. You may need to turn down a few volunteer requests or consider having kids play sports in a recreational league instead of a competitive league. The important thing is to make sure you leave yourselves enough time to recharge together as a family. That’s not to say family bonding can’t occur while volunteering or engaging in other activities. Just be intentional about creating time for togetherness, even if it’s simply grabbing lunch together on your way home from a ball game.
4. Let Your Kid Call the Shots
Often in an effort to create “well-rounded” children, parents will sign up their children for extracurricular activities they genuinely dislike or have no desire to do. Unfortunately, this often ends up being counterproductive, causing arguments and power struggles. Worst of all, it takes up time that could be better spent together as a family. Consider whether your child is genuinely curious about and interested in participating in an activity before signing up for it. Choose your battles carefully, and adjust your family schedule for activities they’re truly interested in when possible.
5. Assist with Homework
There are lots of ways to help younger children with schoolwork, like listening to them read out loud or practicing flashcards for math and spelling. As children get older, though, it can be a little tougher to find ways to interact. Try to help them where you can. Perhaps it’s helping them review for a test or helping identify reputable sources for a research paper. Assisting them and getting their thoughts on their work are great ways to create a stronger connection.
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6. Plan a Family Break
Just like adults, children experience anger, anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion. Scheduling a break for the entire family to relax and reconnect can help everyone decompress and release some of the stress in their lives. Whether it’s an elaborate family vacation or spending a day at the park, schedule some downtime for your household to unwind and decompress.
7. Divide Household Chores
A busy family schedule often means housework gets neglected or falls entirely to one person. It also makes it more difficult to prioritize family time. Consider having a family meeting to discuss how every household member can do their part to help around the house. Even very young children can help by setting the table or dusting. Set expectations upfront to reduce any grumbling. Work together as a team on larger tasks, like cleaning out the garage or doing yard work. Try splitting regular housework into 20-minute sessions each day instead of trying to do everything on a weekend. Look for ways to ease the workload together and prioritize spending time with your family.
8. Cheer Each Other On
If schedules permit, urge your children to come out and support their brothers or sisters at every opportunity. It’s incredibly meaningful for a child when their siblings and extended family are there to support them in their performance or competition. Try to foster opportunities for family cheerleading as often as possible.
9. Do a Project Together
Whether you’re trying to figure out how to bond with your kids or how to build that bond with your stepkids, having a common project or goal can be a gateway to creating a stronger connection. Consider volunteering together once a month, reading a book as a family, or starting a collection.
Developing a more meaningful relationship with your children while they’re young can have an impact that lasts a lifetime. To do that, you have to prioritize your family and consistently invest in quality time together. Whether it’s working on a puzzle or having regular dinners together, the important thing is that you are developing a stronger bond with one another through positive interactions. As your children age, let them call the shots a little more and look for opportunities to let them select activities. Protecting your time together as a family will allow you to build meaningful memories that will keep you bonded with your children as they become adults.
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