It can sometimes feel like everyone in your family is off in their own world, or that no one is really in sync with each other. It doesn’t help that there are so many things to distract and keep us busy these days. The good news is that you can still bring your family together and feel closer and more united. It simply requires making some changes at home (some big, some small, and some really fun!) and working together as a family, and we’re here to show you how.
Method 1 Communicating as a Family
1. Make use of your communication skills. Every member of the family should feel valued and important. You are included in this. You must express your needs in order for your family members to hear them. During discussions, be polite but honest with your family.
For example, if your family usually watches a movie together on Wednesday nights and you are unable to do so that night, you could say, “I know we said we’d watch a movie on Wednesday, but I’m so worried about this test tomorrow. Can we reschedule it for another night this week?”
2. Pay close attention. It is critical that you hear your family members’ concerns, just as you want them to hear yours. If your family members’ opinions are heard and respected, they will feel loved and a part of the family. Instead of talking over your family members, try to listen to what they are saying.
When your family members are talking, give them your undivided attention by putting away all distractions (cellphone, computer, etc.) and looking them in the eyes.
In order to demonstrate your interest, ask questions such as “What happened next?” “How do you feel about it?” and “What are your plans to address it?”
Show that you’re paying attention by nodding and making neutral statements like “yes,” “uh-huh,” and “I see.”
3. Show your appreciation for one another. It is all too easy to take family for granted. Most of them have known you for the majority (if not all) of your life. Make a point of telling each family member how grateful you are for them and how much you enjoy being a family.
Traditions like going around the table at Thanksgiving and saying what each person is thankful for are a good way to express gratitude.
4. We can agree to disagree. Your family members will not always agree on everything. As a family, you must be adaptable and accepting of each member’s point of view. Avoid arguing or bickering over insignificant issues such as who should take out the trash. Instead, make a concerted effort to evenly distribute responsibilities and privileges (fairly does not necessarily mean equally).
When a disagreement arises, use good communication skills and empathy to resolve the issue. Allow everyone a chance to speak without being interrupted, for example, rather than shouting at each other. While each person is speaking, have the rest of the family pay close attention and try to understand what they are saying.
5. Apologies should be given and accepted. When disagreements arise (and they will), you should work to find a solution. Apologies may be in order once the debate is over. If you have crossed any lines, apologise to family members to help smooth things over. Accepting apologies is also an important aspect of them. When a family member apologises, accept the apology and move on in order to reunify the family.
Remember to compromise in order to avoid and resolve disagreements. Also, keep in mind that perfect unity does not exist in every family all of the time.
Method 2 Sharing Responsibilities
1. Create routines for your family. Routines inform each member of the family about when and where certain events will take place. Daily routines, such as a 6:00 dinner time, serve as touch points throughout the day to reconnect the family. The key to creating routines is to keep them consistent. If necessary, write it down for each family member.
Longer running routines, such as weekly grass mowing or a monthly road trip, can also be established.
2. Assign chores to each person. Each member of a family must do their part to keep the family together. This means you’ll have to assign tasks to each individual that everyone else can count on being completed. Each time the chores are completed correctly, it reinforces trust and respect among family members. You can assign permanent chores to each person or rotate the chores on a regular basis to ensure that they are evenly distributed.
Rotating chores with children and teenagers can be beneficial. This way, everyone learns to cook, do laundry, and so on. This eliminates any feelings of unequal distribution of chores and teaches all children to be relatively self-sufficient.
3. Other household responsibilities should be distributed evenly. Some household responsibilities that are not covered on the chore list will arise. When this occurs, they should be divided among family members or rotated among family members. This exemplifies the kind of cooperation and respect required for family unity.
Once the duties are completed, the entire family can reap the benefits and enjoy your time together.
Method 3 Coming Together as a Family
1. Prioritize your family. To have a sense of family unity, each member of your family must learn to prioritise the family. This may necessitate some sacrifices in other areas, but the sacrifices may result in a stronger family unit. You can avoid prioritising work over family plans, for example. If at all possible, avoid cancelling family outings and other family plans. This can be difficult, especially if you have a demanding job, but if you frequently cancel on your family to work late or pick up an extra shift, your family’s sense of unity will suffer.
Making it clear to your family that they are your top priority. Your family may be unaware of how much you value them. Try mentioning it to make sure they’re aware. For example, over dinner one night, you could start a conversation about values by saying something like, “I think the thing that I value the most is my family.”
Individual outings are being restricted. Having too many activities outside of the home may also interfere with your ability to form a strong family unit. This means you may have to be more selective about the extracurricular activities or hobbies in which you and your family members participate. Instead of requiring your children to participate in three or four different extracurricular activities, encourage them to choose just one or two that they enjoy.
2. Adopt family customs. Family traditions give the family as a whole a sense of identity. They also provide people with something to look forward to. These traditions should help to create positive memories and facilitate enjoyable family gatherings.
Cooking an Easter salmon every year at a family gathering is an example of a tradition.
You can also establish weekly rituals such as Taco Tuesday, Thursday family game night, or Saturday morning walks.
3. Take family outings. A vacation is an obvious example of a family adventure. Unfortunately, many people are only able to take one vacation per year (or less). Fill the time between vacations with family road trips, even if they are only for a day. You can also go camping or hiking to create a memorable experience for your family.
4. Gather as a family on a regular basis. The most important way to foster unity is to gather whenever possible. Gathering as a family gives you the time you need to have adventures, traditions, and conversations that will bring your family closer together. Make gatherings more enjoyable by avoiding arguments and encouraging good conversation.
For example, three or four nights a week, you could sit down to eat dinner and talk with your family. You could also plan to play board games together once a week, perhaps on a Friday or Saturday evening. Try to find something that will fit into your routine and allow you to enjoy each other’s company.
5. Lean on one another. Every family goes through difficult times. Whether it’s a death in the family, a job loss, or another difficult time, you should feel at ease relying on your family members. Also, allow them to lean on you when they need it. This will strengthen family bonds and demonstrate that you can rely on each other no matter what.
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