“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

~ Richard Bach

There is nothing in the world that is more important than family.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large and loud, while others are small and intimate.

Some families have a natural rhythm while others seem to be all drumming to their own beat.

Finding a way to relate to one another is the best way to strengthen that family bond. The great thing is that you don’t always need family therapy sessions in order to connect. Often, the best connections are made through laughter and enjoyment; through finding and enjoying happiness together as one.

Whether your family is in sync or still trying to find a way to understand one another, here are 7 fun and exciting ways to improve your family’s connection:

1. Turn off the electronics.

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Before we can even delve into the many ways a family can have fun together, the first step in enjoying each other is in being present. And the only way to truly become present with one another, is to turn off the TV and put down the cellphone.

You might see no harm in checking your phone whenever you receive a text or email but I promise you it does not go unnoticed. In a world filled with distractions, all our children want is to be seen, heard, and noticed. For a child, their parent is their role model, their best friend, and their biggest fan. Don’t make your children feel second best to the rest of your life.

Vice versa, as a teen it’s incredibly tempting to get swept up with everything the internet has to offer. Your curiosity takes the best of you and end up wasting countless hours exploring a world far away from your own.

It’s important that we never loose that curiosity, but it is also equally important to learn when to appreciate what is in front of us in the moment. Your family is the one that is going to be your rock and comfort when you actually go out and face the world one day. Don’t take them for granted until then. Find the joy and importance in unplugging once in a while and getting to know those who love you the most.

2. Find a common hobby.

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The quickest and easiest way to connect with your family is finding a at least one hobby that you can all enjoy together. In order to find this hobby, sit down and talk to your partner and kids. Make the conversation exciting and filled with opportunities. Even just talking about each others interests will bring a spark into your families lives.

Make this hobby a ritual in your family schedule and give precedent to it no matter what. Weather it’s riding your bikes in the neighborhood or filling a Sunday afternoon with arts and crafts, find a way to have FUN with your family at least once a week.

3. Take turns sharing your own hobbies!

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An alternative to finding one common hobby is taking turns sharing each of your own! If your daughter loves to dance, take a dance class with your entire family! If your husband loves to surf, take the kids to the beach with you and give them a lesson. Taking part in each others hobbies with full presence and enthusiasm is how you are going to build the strongest bond.

When you indulge in somebody else’s hobby, you show them your support and care. You show them your genuine interest in getting to know them and connecting on a deeper level. No matter what age you are, there is no better feeling than doing what you love with the people that you love.

4. Sit down and eat together.

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Eating together as a family has been proven in numerous studies to increase overall wellness, happiness, and family bonding. Often times, our days and even our children’s days can be filled with stress, distraction, and chaos. The end of the day around dinner time can be the only time to truly wind down, relax, laugh, and share some stories with those you love.

Talk about each other day’s, reminisce on old times, exchange ideas on common interests, discuss the future. Establish a space where your family can be open, honest, supported, and free of judgement.

5. Invest in your romantic relationship with your partner.

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Your relationship with your partner is an incredibly large part of your families happiness. It’s natural for parents to give up their own needs and wants for their children but sometimes the best thing for your children in the end is to take the time to cultivate your romantic relationship with your partner.

Don’t feel guilty about taking a night off and going out with your significant other for some good old fashioned adult fun once in a while. Keeping each other happy as partners and lovers will in the end have amazing outcomes for your children as they will feel the positive energy radiating from their parents.

6. Take your family outside.

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Take your family out into the sunshine and let them explore. You can take a family trip to the playground or even just go for a walk around your neighborhood. Leaving the house doesn’t always have to be expensive. You can pre pack their lunches and go for a pic-nic in the park. The outdoors bring a sense of energy and life into your family that is just unmatchable indoors. Inside the home you are their parent, but outside you get to be their friend.

Getting out of the house takes you away from the distractions of your every day duties and responsibilities such as the bills that are sitting on your desk or the episode of “American Idol” that you recorded last night.

7. Share YOUR childhood with your kids.

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If you are having trouble connecting with your child, it might be because you are not meeting them on a leveled playing field. As a parent, you often can come across as the enemy or the rule enforcer. While that is something you cannot change, showing your child a different more relatable side of you will help strengthen your relationship by creating a common understanding.

Connect with your child by sharing with him/her your own childhood including stories, photographs, and hobbies. Tell them stories of your childhood and encourage the rest of your family to share even the most embarrassing ones. Take them to places that you loved going to as a child. Not only will it bring your child closer to you, but you will also be overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what your own parents did for you.

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