10 Ways to Bond for Life
Bonding is one of the most effective ways to help kids thrive, offering them resilience and self-confidence. Bonding can alleviate a ton of life’s problems, and it’s easier than you may think.
- Acceptance. They drive us crazy or disappoint us, but make the effort to love and accept them through these periods.
- Attention. Five minutes of direct eye contact every day. Listen selflessly and compassionately.
- Appreciate and thank. Thank them for taking out the garbage, even if you asked several times. Have chores and expectations, and make them feel needed on the “team.”
- Balance the routine and the unexpected. Steady, predictable routines, and bedtime in particular, offer great bonding power. Regular family getaways offer memory-making. Throw in exciting activities such as ziplining for super bonding power!
- Volunteer together. Clean a park. Feed the hungry.
- Establish rituals. What if everyone in the family had their own extra holiday, curtailed to their personality? Or even just movie or board game night?
- Share a passion. Ideas: spectator sports, history, art, science, museums, singing/music, theater, dancing, gymnastics, martial arts, golfing (miniature golf too!), bowling, swimming, camping, biking, travel, gardening, reading, fishing, or cooking and baking. Bonus points for synchronized activity, such as singing, dancing, frisbee, or catch, which data shows causes participants to like one another more.
- On that note, listen to music. A recent University of Arizona study found young adults who shared musical experiences with their parents, particularly in adolescence, reported better relationships with them as they entered adulthood. It’s not common for teens and parents to share music tastes, so it can have a dramatic effect on the relationship when they do, researchers say.
- Make hugging a daily thing. Make sure you’ve laid the groundwork with acceptance, attention, and appreciation and add this as a comfortable part of your family life.
Take care of yourself. It’s hard to do any of these things if you’re struggling with self-care. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, and take care of your mental health. With so much of your children’s wellbeing at stake, don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re struggling, for their sake as much as yours.