We had the privilege of living in Southern Brasil for 10 years. It contributed to our being a close knit family. Our family experienced challenges and grew during our time there. Yet, one of our struggles was in finding consistent ways to connect to each other. There were so many distractions and important things that vied for our time.
The keys to our family’s closeness comes from some basic principles that we taught each of them, and example in our marriage:
- We treat each other with respect in our words and actions.
- We celebrate each of our uniqueness and do not compete or compare.
- We are loyal and teach our kids to treat each other with respect in front of their friends. We know that they may annoy others or each other once in a while, but if that happens, first, they defend their sibling, and then they take their brother or sister aside and talk to them.
- We invest in each other. We teach our kids to ask one another questions about their lives. Some of our kids are away from the house either married or at college. We encourage regular communication and relationship building.
- We share a common bond of a relationship with Jesus and seek to encourage each other spiritually.
- We laugh together.
- We hug.
- We playfully tease.
- We like to play games.
- We spend time together.
- We work on projects together.
Do you struggle in connecting regularly with your family?
Connecting to each other is a key ingredient in becoming a close knit family. How can you change that? Each family unit is different. It will take discovering what your family’s uniqueness is. There will be common experiences you can use to create an opportunity for building and strengthening your relationships. It’s worth the work to create that closeness.
In my book Plug In To Your Child, Ages 4-9; How to Motivate Great Behavior, my daughters and I worked on a project together and developed a list of conversation starter questions that we added to the end of the book. It’s available here.
Suggestions for Becoming a Close Knit Family:
- Take time to go on “dates” with each of your children one at a time. On that date, concentrate on only them. Give them options of where to go and let them choose. Make sure you tuck your phone away for later. Building relationships with each of your children will help them in feeling secure in your family.
- Decide on a family project. Involve your children in the project, asking their ideas, and opinion on what to do, or aspects of the project. For example: Pick a neighbor or family that you know of that has a certain need. Decide as a family to help them in some way whether materially, or an act of service. Encourage your children to journal the experience. Talk about it afterwards as a family and ask about the highlights of the project and what you could do better next time.
- Have regular family meetings to talk to your kids. Prepare some questions ahead of time that require more than a yes or no. Talk with them and listen. Pray together.
- Play a games as a family. This is a fun activity that we often like to do. It gets us away from our screens and gets us relating to each other. We often end up laughing and having a great time. Below is a list of games that we have.
Here are some great game ideas:
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