Children learn how to behave by watching their parents interact with each other and in society. Family bonding time is an excellent way to model behaviors for your children and teaches them how to communicate with family members, friends and society.
In my house, our family bonding time is Sunday dinner followed with a game. During dinner we go “round robin” style asking questions and talking about each one. “I don’t know” is not an option when we ask questions like:
- What was the best thing that happened this week and why?
- What was the worst thing that happened this week and why?
- What is something new you’ve learned this week?
- What did you do to help another person this week?
This really opens up communication for us, allowing us to praise the good things, learn new things and actually “hear” what’s going on in the lives of our family as well as reinforcing the importance of helping others. We try to keep it light so no one feels frustrated, angry, or closes up and doesn’t share. As parents, we get to impart life experiences and wisdom by asking guiding questions to help our children make better choices and think about the decisions they make. Without even realizing it, our parental frustration and worry level goes down because our children open up and communicate with us. We are bonding, we are learning what’s happening in each others lives, and we’re displaying behaviors that can be used in children’s lives.
Once dinner is over we play a game. It gets loud with laughter, fun and a little bit of teasing – sometimes our children have friends over to join us. We’re still bonding, still learning, and, depending on the game, still instilling positive “rules” for today’s society – no cheating, no skipping, no bad language, no bullying, no negativity, no stealing, etc.
By 9 pm our tummies are full and we’ve had a great family bonding night full of information and fun. Then, I look forward to next Sunday night!
Email me at LJones@peacelearningcenter.org if you’d like to share what you’ve done to bring family bonding time into your household.
Written by Lisa Jones, Director of Human Resources.