Author of New York Times bestseller The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick, once advised, “You need to make time for your family no matter what happens in your life.” Tapping into a similar vein, Princess Diana is credited with saying, “Family is the most important thing in the world.” Before his death in 2019, Lee Iacocca asked, “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?”
Clearly, bright minds, like those just mentioned, recognize the importance of family members and bonding with them. Family bonding is vital as it has the potential to yield benefits that last a lifetime.
It’s important to distinguish between spending time with family members and bonding. It’s easy to spend time with others doing mindless things like watching television. By contrast, family bonding time requires participants to be engaged and to actively interact with one another. Let’s take a closer look at family bonding activities and their potential benefits!
Bond With Your Family Through Adventures
When it’s time for a family day or night, it can be difficult to come up with creative ideas—but it doesn’t have to be! Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition was written by exploration experts and features fun activities for everyone. Each scratch-off book includes over 50 creative challenges to keep you on your toes. The kids will love scratching the book’s pages to uncover each new adventure! Grab your copy today.
Benefits of Family Bonding
As we just mentioned, investing yourself in family bonding time can produce lifelong benefits for family members of all ages. For starters, bonding can strengthen your relationships with your loved ones. It can also help the kids in your family develop more meaningful relationships with people outside your home, such as their coaches, classmates, and teachers because your children will mimic the interactive behavior they participate in at home in other environments.
Here are some of the other benefits that often accompany family bonding activities:
- Improved communication: When you actively engage in bonding, it can help your loved ones communicate better. Participants will understand each other more readily, develop improved listening skills, and acquire an appreciation for perspectives and viewpoints other than their own.
- Better conflict resolution: Family time provides a safe space for participants to express their true feelings, and it creates a peaceful time for people to resolve their disagreements without judgment or lingering negative feelings. As your family learns to resolve their differences, those conflict resolution skills will carry over to challenging situations that occur outside of your home.
- Greater Self-Esteem: Quality family time has the proven ability to increase children’s self-esteem. When you spend quality time with your kids, they’ll feel loved and accepted, which can greatly increase their self-image and self-worth.
- Deeper connections: The rigors of daily life sometimes get in the way of family time, but you should actively take steps to prevent that from happening. Even if you have a tight schedule, you should pencil in family time several times per week. By doing so, you can reconnect with your family and strengthen your family relationships, which will increase the likelihood that your kids will come to you if they’re experiencing problems.
- Mutual Respect: When you spend time with your own family, you’ll see that your partner and your kids will start to appreciate each other’s individual personalities, quirks, and opinions. That appreciation will help to foster an environment that rests on the mutual respect the members of your household have for each other.
- Unity: Spending time together helps families feel united. When you nurture your familial relationships through bonding, it will help your family to stick together through thick and thin no matter what.
Family Bonding Activities
If you’re eager for your entire family to enjoy the benefits that accompany bonding with each other, you might be trying to think of some bonding ideas your whole family can get behind. Luckily, bonding activities run the gamut from board games like Monopoly to annual retreats, family vacations, and ice cream socials, so finding things to do that everyone will enjoy or at least find tolerable is a fairly easy task.
Host a Family Game Night
Does your whole family live in one home or do you share the same hometown? If your whole family lives with you or they reside nearby, you may want to host a traditional game night involving board games, video games, and physically interactive games like charades.
Hosting a game night might be a little trickier if your family is scattered throughout the country or around the world. While that may have been true at one time, it’s not necessarily the case any longer thanks to digital platforms like Let’s Roam. Let’s Roam makes planning a virtual family game night a breeze no matter where your relatives are located.
Do Some Adventures from Scratch
Adventures from Scratch is a series of books that consist of fun-filled, scratch-off adventures. “Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition” includes more than 50 family-friendly adventures you can do at home or while your family vacations in a far-away location. No matter which challenge you choose to undertake, your adventure will strengthen the bonds you share with your loved ones as you work together to tackle the challenge.
If your family consists of you and your partner, you’ll want to check out “Adventures from Scratch: Date Edition.” This book includes 55+ challenges that fall into an array of intriguing categories. You can’t go wrong with any of the adventures in this book if your goal is to be closer to your significant other.
Plan a Family Dinner
Food brings people together across many cultures. If you want a strong family, we suggest you plan regular family dinners. A family dinner doesn’t just give you the chance to break bread with your family. It also gives you the opportunity to talk, laugh, reminisce, and cook together.
While some people wait for a special occasion like a holiday to plan a dinner for their extended family, there’s no reason to do so. To strengthen your familial bonds, plan family meals monthly or, better yet, weekly. When you break bread with family members often enough, the meal itself becomes a regular special occasion everyone will look forward to.
Even if your relatives live in different locations, you can still involve them in an upcoming family meal. Depending on where they live, you can use a service like Amazon Prime Now, Schipt, or Instacart to have the ingredients your loved ones will need to make the food you plan to serve. Then, you can get everyone together using a platform like Zoom so you can all cook together.
Schedule a Family Movie Night
Do you want to have some family fun, but you want to unwind during some downtime at the same time? If that idea appeals to you, we suggest you schedule a family movie night. Movie nights are a great way to spend time with your family unit without requiring much effort from you. To plan a movie night, you simply have to pick a movie everyone will like, throw some popcorn in the microwave, and sit back and enjoy the flick with your family.
While watching a movie isn’t particularly interactive by nature, you can use the flick as the basis for a post-film family discussion. You can also encourage viewers to share their thoughts and observations during the film. In fact, doing so can make comedies even funnier if your loved ones add onto jokes with their own funny comments.
Establish Family Traditions
Many people think of events like annual family reunions when the notion of establishing family traditions comes to mind, but traditions don’t have to be big functions involving extended family. While you might want to plan a big event that will repeat itself every year, you can also establish traditions on a much smaller, more manageable scale.
Here are some of the smaller-scale family traditions you may want to consider:
- Monthly family days out
- Attending a cultural event every two or three months
- Reading aloud or telling family stories every week
- Seasonal family picnics
Volunteering as a family is a fun way to give back to the community you share with your neighbors. To get everyone involved, pick a non-profit that has a cause with a purpose that resonates with your whole family. When you volunteer as a family, your relatives will have the chance to flex their teamwork muscles as they work together on behalf of a good cause.
If you have young children, their ages may prohibit them from volunteering at certain charities due to liability reasons. In that case, you may want to volunteer online. Even if your kids are too young to actively participate, they’ll see that you’re dedicating time to helping others, which will make it more likely that they’ll follow your example as they age.
Here are some online volunteer opportunities you may want to consider, including some kid-friendly options:
- Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
- Cards for a Cause
- Writing Wonders Organization
- Caring Calls
- Be My Eyes
- The Trevor Project
- Distributed Proofreaders
- Lifetime Connections Without Walls
Do you want to volunteer, but don’t want to make a lengthy commitment to just one organization? Your family can still volunteer online. You can choose a charity and conduct a fundraiser to benefit that organization using your social media pages, for example. Hosting a silent auction online is a fun way to help yet another non-profit.
Put Family Meetings on Your Calendar
Scheduling family meetings and setting expectations for attendance is a smart way to ensure your family will show up for the get-togethers. While meetings at work are often formal affairs, get-togethers with family members can as fun and riotous as you want them to be.
Although it’s common to bring family together when you need to discuss a serious subject, regular meetings can simply represent occasions when you catch up with your loved ones. By getting together often, your family can develop improved social skills, strengthen their family bonds, share some laughs, and demonstrate that they care about each other’s physical well-being and mental health.
Organize International Nights
In today’s increasingly global, connected society, it’s more important than ever for people to have an appreciation of and respect for other cultures. With that in mind, you may want to put together some international nights, with each one celebrating a different nation and its culture.
Ask each member of your family to find a fact or two about the culture you choose so they can present their findings during the relevant international night. To take things a step further, consider making culturally appropriate food so your family can have an even more immersive cultural experience. If possible, ask your family to dress in culturally relevant clothing, and plan some light programming that represents the culture your family will learn about.
Go on a Family Scavenger Hunt
The only thing that’s better than a scavenger hunt is participating in a hunt with your family. Let’s Roam offers in-home family scavenger hunts and we’ve arranged outdoor scavenger hunts in more than 400 cities around the world. Schedule an in-home family scavenger hunt or an app-led onsite scavenger hunt today.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re going to use an onsite scavenger hunt to bond with your family, refer to our blog post that tells readers what to bring on an outdoor scavenger hunt. Don’t forget to share the post with your family so your loved ones will know what to bring, too.
We’ve created a curated list of 21 must-see movies for kids that will help you choose an age-appropriate film for your next movie night with the family.
If you’ve never done an in-home family scavenger hunt before, you might be wondering what to expect. Our team created the ultimate guide to virtual scavenger hunts that will help you understand how your hunt will enable your family to bond.