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Family bonding

Why should I spend time bonding with my children?

It is imperative for families to spend time together in order to facilitate bonding. This is essentially due to the fact that children learn how to behave socially by watching their parents who become their first role models. By spending QUALITY time with your children, you can model good behaviours and values, which they can then learn and thereafter adopt it to society and with other people.

Providing special family time with your children also fosters their sense of self-worth and builds their self-esteem. Children feel valued and special when time is set aside for them during their parent’s busy day in order for their feelings and fears to be expressed and voiced.

Family bonding also facilitates trust between members which becomes important during times of distress when children will be more likely to turn to their parents, as opposed to their friends, if they believe their parents will listen to them and take their feelings seriously.

What are the biggest challenges/obstacles to family bonding?

The biggest obstacle to family bonding is time. With both parents working, or with single parent homes, finding time to spend with your family becomes daunting because there are often more important things to do. What we fail to understand however, is that the same way we MAKE time to buy groceries, or to pay bills and to attend to this and that, we also need to MAKE time to spend with our families as this is a REAL priority as well. Spending time with your family should be given equal weight as it is often the most important aspect of our lives, which we tend to take for granted because it’s urgency is less visible or less demanding.

What are some practical ways in which families can bond?

Bonding with family by spending quality time together will allow parents and children to improve their communication with each other, by enhancing their listening and communication skills. Parents learn to listen to what their children are trying to express, and children learn to appreciate the advice and wisdom parents have to offer as it relates to the problems they have shared. This also goes a long way to creating and sustaining mutual respect for each other.

Remember quality time is important: A child would value 15 minutes of your undivided attention as opposed to an afternoon of trying to catch your attention while you are on the phone and trying to cook a big dinner.

Families can stipulate a “no screen time”� policy at home after a certain hour so that all family members are encouraged to spend real face-to-face interactions with each other. This means nothing with a screen is allowed out: no tv, cellphones, laptops, ipads or tablets. Families can then use this time to communicate and play together, rather than being absorbed by social media and the distractions of technology

Also plan family activities together like a picnic or a day at the beach. In this way children can learn the beauty of compromise as well as provide the opportunity for their parents to take an interest in their hobbies or interests.