“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.” — Lee Iacocca
What makes a family strong? It is the support and love that the members of a family offer each other. The knowledge and feeling that your parents and siblings will always be there for you no matter what, brings you closer together.
But, how often do we put our family first, and stand by them? Sometimes, familiarity can lead us to take people who are close to us for granted. Also, the pressures of everyday life could impede us from spending enough time with our families.
Family relationships, like all other relationships, need constant nurturing. This is where family bonding comes in. It allows you to understand each other better and improve each other’s well-being. The best thing that you could give to your family or children is your time and presence.
Read on as we tell you what family bonding time is and why it is important. We also tell you about the ten benefits of family time and ten ways to create family bonding time.
What Is Family Bonding Time?
Family bonding time is the quality time that you spend with your family, doing things that you love. It could include doing activities together, going on a picnic, watching a movie together, having meals together, helping each other out, playing a game, and much more. It allows the members of a family to interact with each other, know and understand each other, feel united, and develop a stronger bond.
10 Benefits Of Family Bonding Time
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” —Richard Bach
Spending quality family time together can benefit both the parents and children in the following ways.
1. Improves educational and literary outcomes
Studies have shown parental involvement has a positive impact on children’s educational and literary outcomes (1) (2). Spending time together, showing keen interest in their school activities, doing homework together, etc., can have a huge impact on your children’s academic success.
2. Helps develop social skills
Family bonding helps children learn essential social skills. It teaches them how to behave in social settings by watching their parents. It also allows parents to communicate with each other better and set examples for their children.
3. Helps create meaningful Relationships
Family bonding time could help children form meaningful relationships with people outside the family—be it their teachers, peers, or elders. How you approach or interact with each other in the family would reflect how your children interact with people outside the immediate family circle.
4. Improves communication
It helps improve communication. Spending quality time together enables you to better understand each other better, express your feelings and thoughts, and welcome different opinions and perspectives (3). It also helps children become active listeners.
5. Fosters unity
Family time helps keep families united. A family that spends time together understands each other’s likes and dislikes and does things that help each other grow. It also allows your children to feel free to reach out to you with their problems.
6. Helps resolve conflicts
Resolving conflicts that may arise within the family from time to time becomes easier when you have time for the family. A strong family that spends quality time together can come to terms with differences and help each other get through difficult times. It helps resolve conflicts outside family as well. Spending time will lead to discussing matters that are troubling a family member and provides safe space for emotions.
7. Improves behavior
Children of parents who often spend quality time together are less likely to exhibit emotional and behavioral disorders (4). Also, family bonding time helps you value each other and build intimacy and trust.
8. Improves self-esteem
Family bonding time helps build self-esteem in children. Studies have proven that poor child-parent bonding leads to low self-esteem in children and may cause psychological distress (5). Spending quality time with the family helps children feel loved and accepted and enables them to appreciate their self-worth.
9. Helps reconnect
Family time helps you reconnect with your children. This is especially true if both of you are working parents and have very little time for your children on weekdays. Doing fun activities together at scheduled times of the day or on weekends can help your children open up to you and share more information about their lives.
10. Fosters mutual respect
Each member of a family can express themselves, value each other’s uniqueness, engage in dialogue, and feel comfortable sharing information about their life during family bonding events. Engaging in activities and understanding each other’s roles and boundaries can also help foster mutual respect.
10 Ways To Create Family Bonding Time
There are myriad ways to create family bonding time. And most activities that you indulge in together won’t cost you a dime and can be done on an everyday basis. Here are a few ways in which you can create quality family bonding time.
- Create family rituals and traditions. Family rituals and traditions help you stay connected. Celebrate important family occasions or plan things that involve the entire family. Make a point to do the things you enjoy on these special days. This could help you, your spouse, and children to look forward to these special moments.
- Have meals together. Given our busy schedules, dinner or breakfast is perhaps the only time when all the family members get together. Make sure you spend this time sans the gadgets and give your undivided attention to each other. Having frequent family meals, besides strengthening your bonds, may also offer nutritional benefits and is related to several positive psychosocial outcomes in children (6)
- Do chores together. Divide the household chores, and ensure no one is overworked in the house. You could teach your children important life skills and instill the value of hard work and teamwork by introducing simple and age-appropriate household chores.
- Volunteer together. Get your family together and go out and help someone in the community. You could volunteer at a community center or help feed the needy. It could help your children develop empathy and understand the importance of giving. Moreover, volunteering is also associated with various health benefits and could improve your children’s social and relationship skills (9) (10) (11).
- Go on a family outing. Plan a family outing and spend time bonding with each other through fun activities. You could visit a wildlife park, a beach, or a zoo. Spending time outdoors can improve your health and well-being and also help you keep your children away from gadgets (12).
- Take up each other’s hobbies. Identify shared interests and hobbies—it could be reading, hiking, painting, fishing, or writing—and spend time doing those things together. You could take up each other’s hobbies and teach your children the valuable lesson of compromising to make someone else happy at times.
- Schedule family game nights. This is one of the best ways to bring everybody together. Besides, games also allow you to teach your children patience, respect, turn-taking, fair play, and teamwork. You could try any of your favorite family games or try family board games to spend quality time at home.
- Cook together. Spend some special bonding time by helping each other out in the kitchen or organizing a barbecue afternoon. You could try out new recipes together or pass down the secret family recipes to your children.
- Visit grandparents. Children love spending time with their grandparents. Ensure you set a day, a week, or a month to spend time with their grandparents. In addition to providing your children with a lot of love and care, grandparents can also help your children treasure the cultural heritage and family history.
- Do projects together. Spend time doing a project together. It needn’t be anything serious. You could introduce some fun recycling activities or some gardening projects and activities and spend hours bonding and having a good time. Discussing various aspects of life such as emotional, moral, social, political (the type of discussion has to be understandable and age-specific) will help enhance knowledge.
No matter how busy we are, it is extremely important to make time for our family. And remember, it is how well we spend that time that counts. Plan your schedules and think of ways to use family time in the best way possible to help each other grow. We hope these tips help you spend quality time with your family and strengthen family bonds.
2. Nermeen E. El Nokali, Heather J. Bachman, and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal; Parent Involvement and Children’s Academic and Social Development in Elementary School; Child Dev. (2010).
3. Rick Peterson; Families First-Keys to Successful Family Functioning: Communication; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
4. Breiner H, Ford M, and Gadsden VL; Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8; National Academies Press (2016).
5. Angela L. Curcio, Anita S. Mak, and Amanda M. George; Maternal and Paternal Bonding and Self-Esteem as Predictors of Psychological Distress Among Male and Female Adolescents; Cambridge University Press (2018).
6. Megan E. Harrison, et al.; Systematic review of the effects of family meal frequency on psychosocial outcomes in youth; Can Fam Physician (2015).
7. Laura Dwyer, et al.; Promoting family meals: a review of existing interventions and opportunities for future research; Adolesc Health Med Ther (2015).
8. Amber J. Hammons and Barbara H. Fiese; Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents?; Pediatrics (2011).
9. Benefits of Community Service – Community Engagement; Western Connecticut State University
10. Volunteering may be good for body and mind; Harvard Health Publishing
11. Jerf W. K. Yeung, Zhuoni Zhang, and Tae Yeun Kim; Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms; BMC Public Health (2018).
12. Matthew P. White, et al.: Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing; Scientific Reports (2019).