Some families aren’t as close as the ones we admire on our favorite television shows. Sibling rivalry isn’t foreign, nor is the occasional domestic chaos. But when parents and children constantly bump heads it can be challenging, but the good news is you don’t have to just sit back and accept it. There are changes you can make to become a closer family unit. When people hear ‘change’, they automatically think it will be expensive or hard to adjust. That’s not the case with these ten suggestions.
- Take a poll.
Simply asking how you’re doing can open the doors of communication. Children are usually good at telling you what they need if you know how to ask. Try asking open-ended as well as yes or no questions. Be prepared to hear anything without getting offended, this insures you are listening closely and with an open mind.
- Get up. Stand up.
Don’t sit on your parent throne (usually the best spot on the couch), shouting out demands and instructions at your children. That behavior encourages your children to give you space and to find their own sanctuaries. In this digital age, it’s easy to just send a text, but speaking face to face is still the best means of communication. Limit all other forms of communication and show them you care enough to find them and speak to them and they will do the same. Remember, you are your children’s first example.
- Take them out.
One thing that makes children so special is that they are all different. They have their own minds, interests, hobbies and habits. It’s important to do stuff as a family but it’s also important to give each child some one on one time. Spend time with each child doing something that they love. That can be going to a special exhibit at a museum, seeing a horror movie, playing a sport, or even just a bite to eat at their favorite restaurant. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or plan an entire day from morning to night. Sometimes just surprising them with their favorite ice cream when you go grocery shopping is a nice gesture. It shows thoughtfulness and makes them feel important as an individual. Children tend to remember the little things, they’re special like that, so don’t feel like any gesture is too small or will go unnoticed.
- A family that eats together…
Almost everyone has a hectic schedule these days, even toddlers. There’s practice, work, school and everything in between. Families are always on the move to keep up with homework, meetings, and extracurriculars. You have to prioritize with family time being at the top of your list. Even if it’s just one night a week, make an effort to sit down and eat together, without phones or television. Having that time with nothing but a meal and each other’s company can do wonders for your family unit. This time can be used to talk about each other’s days, future plans, and current struggles.
- Who doesn’t like pizza?
Pizza night is completely different than sitting down at the table together for dinner. You can do pizza night less often, perhaps once a month. Put it on the calendar, preferably on a Friday so no one has to worry about waking up too early the next morning. Make it a festive time, something everyone in the family can look forward to. Add a family movie and ice cream for dessert. There is no dinner preparation or mess to clean up, which adds to the relaxing mood.