How do you get your family to be closer?
Spend time with your kids.
Don’t focus so much on what questions to ask them—first, just focus on spending time with them. They’ll start talking on their own.
Anytime a child gets asked something, they can feel like they’re getting the third degree. They get trained early just to say the right thing.
(Now, there is a time and place for parents to ask questions, but we’re talking about getting children to talk on their own.)
Breaking bread and fellowship are the two most powerful tools a parent has. Those are the times when kids will join in the conversation because they want to and not because they’ve been asked to.
You can ask them questions, but if you get quiet, you can get them to share what is on their heart.
“…For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NLT)
That means that it may be slow at first, but if you spend enough time together that your children will start to talk as the focus changes from them to the activity you all are doing together.
START MAKING MEMORIES
Part of the ways families grow closer together is to spend time making memories.
You don’t have to go on some big vacation (though that can be a great memory maker). Doing something out of the ordinary together is all it takes to make a special memory that will help bond your family closer.
Here are just 15 ideas to get you started on a
Make a Family Dinner
Eating together is important. It’s when you’re relaxed that some of the most important things get said. The way to make dinner a memory-making event is to get the whole family involved. Make the meal as a family. If that isn’t a possibility, then make a family favorite dish that you haven’t made in a long time or try a secret family recipe and teach your kids how to make it. Making a meal and enjoying it together can be a fun way to grow closer.
Take a Walk Together
Walks are not only good for the heart, they’re good for the family too! It can be a short walk around the neighborhood or a long walk at the park. The point is to enjoy some quiet time together. This inexpensive activity is both a healthy and free activity. You’ll be surprised what conversations get started when you take the time to walk together.
Play a Game Together
Games are another fun and inexpensive way to spend time together. There are plenty of options for families of every age and size. Board games were always a favorite in our house, but we also loved to make up games—kids are always good at coming up with something! If you had a game your parents taught you, pass that along to the next generation. Tell them what games you played growing up.
If you prefer getting out of the house to play games, check out free programs like Kids Bowl Free.
Random Acts of Kindness
Families can have a lot of fun serving others! Take some cookies to an elderly neighbor, hand out bottled waters on a hot day, or write a thank you letter to someone. Clean out extra toys or household supplies and donate them. Find ways to get your kids involved. Ask them for ideas. This is a great way to set the example of loving people by serving others. You don’t have to make it a big deal, but it gives you a great teaching moment to show your kids what God’s Word says about serving.
Yes, you read that right—house projects can be a fun activity for the family. There were many weekends that the kids would be out helping with major yard work projects or small renovations or even just a spring cleaning. The family bonding part comes into play when the group is working together on something. This creates an environment of teamwork. Don’t have everyone working separately, work together. Make time for snack breaks and be sure to have something fun to end the project with. We always sat on the porch and looked over our work and told stories.
Family Movie Night
Pop some popcorn or cut up some vegetables, bring the blankets to the room, and have everyone get cozy for a movie night! You may or may not get a lot of talking done while watching the movie, but spending time relaxing together creates a bond. In our house, people ended up talking throughout the movie or we would stop it for bathroom breaks and snacks, and inevitably one of the kids would fall asleep. Those simple things make memories. Let the kids bring their pillows and blankets. Let things get a little messy if they have to and let bedtimes extend if needed. If picking movies is a struggle, put all the suggestions in a hat and let someone pick. Or you can even take turns and have multiple movie nights where each person gets to pick a film to share.
Take a Class Together
It’s important to always stay teachable, so what better way to do that than to learn something together! There are great classes for every interest. Do you like food? Take a cooking class together. Are you more into sports? Take a golf or archery lesson together. Get creative and have fun. A quick search online will help you find classes available in your area.
Groupon for Family Activity
Sometimes it can get expensive to take everybody out for a day or evening of fun, but Groupon is a website where companies feature big discounts on events, parks, hotels, and more! It’s tailor-made for families. Our family loves to do outdoors activities and we found a Groupon (group coupon) to tour a goat farm. Everyone had fun, even the people that weren’t sure they’d like it at all. It’s an opportunity to try something new.
Visit a Museum
Don’t leave the educational stuff for the school year. There are museums for every interest and age. Parents no longer have to be nervous about their kids making noise or not being welcome because there are kid-friendly museums as well as places specifically designed for them. But, it’s still good to take them to all kinds of places because that’s how they learn about different things in the world and have new experiences. Children learn how not to touch the art and why that’s important. They learn about people who were just like them and what they accomplished. Does your family have a specific interest? There’s going to be a museum that fits that interest. Our family enjoys finding those little out-of-the-way places in small towns, as well as the more well-known places like the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Wherever you are located; you’re sure to find one or more interesting museums in your area.
(An online search, as well as sites like TripAdvisor, can also help you find places to visit.)
Farmer’s Market Fun
Summertime is the perfect time to find a farm stand and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. (This could also be part of your family dinner night.) With so many delicious fresh foods available this time of year, you can get the family outside and eating well at the same time. It’s an inexpensive way to spend the morning and a great opportunity to teach your kids about where food comes from. Here is a website that can help locate a Farmer’s Market near you.
Even in the city Farmer’s Markets are becoming more common, but if you aren’t able to locate one consider growing something together. Herb gardens are easy to care for and can often be grown indoors (if space is limited).
At Home Science Experiment
Science experiments don’t just have to be homework they can be fun! There are many online resources with ideas for easy experiments that can be done with household supplies. A quick search of Pinterest or Google will help you locate some. If you aren’t sure where to start, start with a question. Is there something you want to know more about how it works? Or is there something you think your children will enjoy knowing how it works? Let that be a jumping off point and go from there.
Here’s a science experiment for homemade ice cream (Ice Cream can be science, too.)
Don’t feel like all the pressure is on you to come up with ideas to entertain your children. Get them in on the planning by letting them pick an activity. This will not only help them start learning about planning things, but it will also give you some insight into what they think and enjoy. Depending on the age of your kids, you may be limited, but even very young kids can give feedback. If you have multiple kids, this will be a great exercise in problem-solving. Either take turns picking and do multiple events or have everyone submit an idea and draw names from a jar.
This is another great option for those who need some ideas. Try a craft or project you found on Pinterest. (Pinterest is a social media website and free to use.) Most ideas you find will even come with free printable instructions that you can download or a website link with more information. Find an age appropriate idea and run with it. The great thing about Pinterest is that it’s filled with fun ideas using items that you already have at home. Use your imagination or find what you have around the house and make something as a family. An option that blends family bonding (for a blend of ages) can be something like the Marshmallow Challenge craft/game.
Take a Drive [To See Something Special]
You may be thinking that you already spend too much time in the car with the kids, but this is different because this is on purpose and for fun. Maybe you have a pretty drive near you or maybe there’s a road you’ve never driven down, but want to know more about. Another option is to load the family in the car early in the morning to see the sunrise and have a roadside picnic and just go back home after that. Maybe you take a drive to somewhere to watch the sunset. If you have lived in that area for a long time, drive around a show the kids where they were born or where you and your spouse met. Think of places that have been part of your family’s history or maybe something you are wanting for the future.
Visit a Library or Bookstore
Reading as a family is a great activity. You don’t have to read the same book, but setting aside special time where everyone finds a place to read for a while can be fun. Afterward, you can share what your book is about or what you’re learning. Take an afternoon to visit the library or your local bookstore. This is a great way to help kids learn more about what they are interested in. It’s also a way you can find out what they like and don’t like. Lastly, this also trains the family to make life-long learning a priority.
DISCOVER THREE WAYS TO GROW UP TOGETHER
Do you want more peace in your family? Would you like to grow closer as a family?
That was the top goal people shared with us for this year. If that’s your goal, this teaching will help you get started on the right path.
The first thing you need to know is that if you want to grow closer together, you have to grow up together.
In this laugh-and-learn message, Joe will help you discover three ways to can take to grow up and grow closer as a family.