As a parent, you know how special quality time with your child is. Families lead busy lives, but it’s important to carve out key bonding time between appointments, errands, and classes. Here are ten family bonding ideas to fit a wide range of time commitments, budgets, and interests.
- Family movie night at home – Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, there’s more choice than ever when it comes to family movie night. You can take turns choosing a movie, and offer younger children a limited selection to choose from in order to help them not feel overwhelmed. Many families like to have a themed movie night, and choose snacks and even costumes to match. Whatever you decide, ensure that all devices are off and everyone’s full attention is given to the movie.
- Be a tourist in your hometown – Family trips are always a great opportunity to build lasting memories. However, staying closer to home can be just as rewarding, for a fraction of the cost. No matter where you live, there’s likely a local attraction a short drive away. For example, you can pack a healthy lunch and take the family on a walk on a forest trail, spend the day at a natural history museum, or attend a concert that the whole family will enjoy. Together, create a list of ways you can explore your local attractions, and be sure to refer to it often.
- Create a family journal – Many adults journal as a way to organize their thoughts and record their experiences, but journaling is also an ideal opportunity to bond as a family. You can create a family journal where, each week, everyone sits down together to reflect on the past week. You can designate one person to write or draw in the journal, or pass it over to a new person each week. Discuss the past week’s activities and events both as a family, and for each individual member. Encourage your children to share how they felt during the week, and what they are looking forward to in the days ahead.
- Designate a special family day – All families have their own unique interests, favorite memories, and shared traditions. By designating a special day for the family, you can celebrate all the things everyone likes best. For example, on this day your family might finally take the trip to the amusement park you’ve been talking about for weeks. You might also choose to spend the entire day in your pajamas, or have your children choose the day’s activities. You can also give the day a special name and turn it into a holiday of sorts that’s unique to your family. If possible, take the day off work and don’t schedule any activities, just like you would on a traditional holiday.
- Go on a nature walk – Whether it’s a forest hike, a walk along the beach, or a park in your neighborhood, spending time outdoors is an ideal bonding opportunity for families. Not only can you and your children discuss your surroundings and learn more about nature, but it can have a calming effect on everyone.
- Play make-believe – Play helps young children learn about themselves and their world. You can make your child’s pretend play into a bonding experience by joining in. Create a blanket fort, dress up with them and act out a play, or these seven other ideas for pretend play.
- Eat dinner together – While daily life can be hectic for families, it’s important to sit down to dinner together as often as possible. It helps to create a stable, dependable routine for your child, and it’s also a great time to discuss the day’s events and learn more about each other.
- Do a science project – Young children are endlessly curious, and simple at-home science projects can help them to learn and have fun at the same time. Many science projects for preschoolers are simple to set up, and don’t involve a lot of time or expense. You can help your child develop their science and problem-solving skills while building lasting memories.
- Volunteer together – Volunteering with a local organization can help teach your child empathy and gratitude, and strengthen their self-esteem. Many organizations offer opportunities for families to volunteer together. For example, your family can feed animals at a local farm, serve food at a homeless shelter, or sort donations at the food bank. Many organizations have activities specifically designed for younger children.
- Talk – Sometimes, a simple conversation can be all you need to bond as a family. Whether it’s a conversation about a serious topic such as bullying or anxiety, or a chat about their day at preschool, simply showing your child that you’re interested in their thoughts will strengthen your bond. Give your child your full attention during these conversations, and show them that you’re listening.
With these ten family bonding ideas, you and your family can build memories and grow closer together. Use them as a starting point to create your own unique bonding activities.