Spending time together as a family should be easy as pie, but these days, when we are all so busy – even our kids have a social life – it seems more and more difficult to set special time apart to really bond as a family. It doesn't matter what your family looks like, whether you all live together, you're split or blended, it's important to find time every week to do things together.
How to connect with your kids?
The short answer is - time together. It can be as simple as collecting shells on the beach, baking a cake together, finding fun ways to get homework finished or taking surfing lessons together – the possibilities are endless.
If you pull out your calendar, you can mark off several days a month and devote it to 'family time.' It doesn't have to be a question of quality over quantity. Perhaps there will be some days when 'family time' can mean a simple picnic in your backyard and other times when you can arrange a family bushwalk or an overnight camping trip. Sometimes just having a family movie night is enough to enjoy being together.
The benefits of 'family time' are priceless! Here are five reasons why family connection builds confidence in kids:
Family time creates a sense of belonging, a sense of trust and feelings of safety. Being part of a family is crucial for a child's sense of worth too. If you make 'family time' a regular thing then you'll see your child's sense of attachment to the family strengthen. Strengthening this bond will help with listening and respect amongst each other, creating a more harmonious family environment. If you put in the groundwork and build a strong foundation of trust early, you may find that when those tricky teenage years come around, coping with the challenges may be a bit easier.
Creates positive behaviour
We all know a family can strengthen a child's sense of worth and self-confidence but as they get older, having a family that sets aside 'family time' can also set them up for positive behaviour throughout their life. A recent study by Arizona State University on the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that teenagers who spent more time with their families – particularly family dinners - are less likely to use drugs, cigarettes or alcohol. Let that be a big motivational factor for setting aside some 'family time' this week!
Builds emotional maturity
Bonding with your child is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Spending the time to talk about feelings, concerns or insecurities, helps build reassurance and empathy. A child feeling confident, loved and understood within their home environment can cope much better with the 'outside' world, assisting with adaptability and confidence to social interactions and hurdles.
Creates happy childhood memories
The more activities you do together as a family, the more memories you'll create for your kids. It's no secret that people who can look back on their childhood with happiness, reliving those happy memories, are more likely to create their own special memories with their children. Part of teaching your kids to be a responsible and competent adult can be as simple as doing things together as a family. Happiness is a great foundation for building confident adults.
Promotes health and wellbeing
Laughing together is a great way to connect with each other. If you have a comedian in the family then laughing won't be a problem and is probably a daily occurrence anyway. But, if everyone is more on the serious side then simple ways to bring laughter into your life is to tickle little tummies, watch funny movies or play silly games. Laughing increases the oxygen to the brain, which increases endorphins which are 'feel good' hormones alleviating stress and depressive feelings. Laughter is the key to connection and happiness.
Spending time together as a family doesn't need to be extravagant, keeping it fun and simple is just as beneficial if not more. Remember a family who plays together stays together!