We all want a happy, healthy family, and one of the best ways to create that is through bonding. Bonding creates a close connection with the people you love, and can help protect youth from substance misuse. Youth who are bonded with their family are less likely to participate in risky behaviors. With all the social distancing and stress associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to create strong family bonds! Here are some things you can do.
Tips from Parents Empowered on creating close family bonds
1. Have dinner together as a family
Did you know that youth who have dinner as a family at least five times per week are 33% less likely to use alcohol? Check out these easy weeknight meal ideas!
2. Spend one on one time with each child
Spending even 10 or 20 minutes a day with each of your children can make a huge difference in their life! Here are few tips to make sure this bonding time will be special for them.
- Let them choose the activity you do together: It could anything from just talking to going for a walk to playing a quick game.
- Try not to be critical or offer suggestions, let them lead. If it’s hard to come up with ideas, you could brainstorm a list together to use when it’s time to play. Ideas for spending time together
- Enjoy spending time with your child!
3. Spend time talking
Talk about things important to your child. Ask them what’s happening in school and with their friends. Ask them about their hopes and dreams as well as their fears and concerns. Try to get familiar with some of their hobbies so you can talk about them. Showing interest in your kids helps them feel valued and connected.
Help your teen feel safe, connected and competent
4. Use discipline to teach, not punish
Disciplining a child is about teaching them a better way of doing things. When you need to correct behavior, make sure your child knows they are still loved. Instead of overly harsh punishment, think of mistakes as teaching opportunities where you can give your child a chance to learn a better way of doing things. Try giving your child a “do over.” For example, if your child is hitting, try explaining that it’s okay to express emotions but it’s important to express emotions while keeping everyone safe. Give them a chance to try expressing their emotions again, but without hitting.
5. Make emotional deposits
Steven Covey taught that relationships are like bank accounts. If we’re always criticizing, correcting and nit picking, it’s like taking money out of a bank account that will be eventually be empty. Try giving compliments and noticing the things your child does right to make emotional deposits. Spend time together, express love and pay attention to them.
Express love using your child’s love language
Try implementing these tips to increase family bonding and make sure your child feels connected and loved.