Family bonding is very important to a child’s self-esteem. It shows him that he is important to you, and is a crucial part of feeling unconditionally loved.
Family bonding is even more important as your child grows older. As he is exposed to peer pressure and pressure to perform in school, he needs to know that there is one place where he can feel safe, accepted, and 100% himself. Here are some parenting tips on family bonding with older kids — and how these can also be used to teach values.
Parenting tip # 1: Teach friendly competitiveness with the Wii
Video games may have earned a bad rep, but under parental supervision it can be a tool for family bonding. For example, the Wii allows everybody to engage in friendly competition. It gets coach potatoes moving and grooving, and the wide selection of games—tennis doubles, bowling matches, yoga, and racing—means there is something for every age and personality.
Wii games also show kids that you can be competitive without having to feel insecure or afraid of failure. Even if they don’t win a game they can still have fun! This is a great life tip that will help build EQ (emotional quotient) and help them cope with the pressure they meet in school or on the playground.
Parenting tip # 2: Teach familiarity and security with bedtime rituals
Schedules can be hectic for parents and kids alike, but bedtime rituals can be a magical time where everyone slows down and just enjoys each other’s company. Cuddling, reading books, singing songs, praying together, or even just chatting while lying in bed can give kids a sense of security: “No matter what happens I can always look forward to this part of the day.”
Bedtime rituals also help kids manage stress. Here’s one very good parenting tip: use this moment to affirm your child’s confidence. Talk about “what was the best part of the day/ worst part of the day” so that you know what’s going on in his life and help him process his problems and challenges. Praise him for something he did that day, and encourage him: “I know you had trouble with your Math test. It’s okay, you’re smart, and tomorrow you can do better.”
Parenting tip # 3: Encourage creativity by making music together
Turn on the radio really loud and dance. Sing along to music videos on TV, or make your own by giving kids a microphone and turning on the family camera. These are fun family bonding activities, with the bonus that musical activity can help develop so many other life skills too.
Parenting tip # 4: Enjoy nature with walk around the neighborhood
We’re so used to rushing to meet deadlines, appointments, soccer practice, school. But try to include walks where the journey is the destination. Leisurely explore the neighborhood or the park, pausing to examine bugs you see on the ground or an interesting pattern on the sidewalk. This activity helps your kids love and appreciate nature and also provides ample time for conversation—improving communication and your family bond.
Parenting tip # 5: Teach teamwork while washing the car
Turn this chore into a chance to work and play together! With a bucket and sponge, water guns and canons, a garden hose, and lots of soap, you can all clean the car and get marvelously, hilariously wet in the process.
Another parenting tip: you can use this approach to absolutely any household chore. Get kids to help you sort out old items for a garage sale, or arm everyone with brooms and rags for a general spring cleaning. Chores are more fun when everyone’s doing it together—especially if the stereo is at full blast, everyone’s laughing, and there’s plenty of pizza and chips to reward them for their hard work.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.