The holidays give us the opportunity to spend more time with family members, both immediate and extended, who we don’t get to see as often as we would like. Every year we vow to get together more frequently, or even just to slow down and spend more quality time with the people who live in our own homes. And, of course, every year our lives and schedules get busier, and those vows quickly fall to the wayside.
But it doesn’t have to be that way – here are three fun family bonding activities that will keep everyone close all year long.
1. Eat Dinner Together
Between work, school and extracurricular activities and hobbies, sitting down together for family dinner every night can prove a huge challenge. But it is so worth it when you can actually talk to your family in person for 30 minutes a day. Use mealtime to ask each other questions and find out what’s really going on in each other’s lives. Even if it means you don’t get to eat dinner until 8 p.m., give it a try. You can always have a hearty snack earlier in the evening to tide you over, but you can never regain these precious evenings.
Tip: Use dinnertime cleanup as a way to spend time together, too. (Have some Cascade Platinum ActionPacs on hand so you can skip rinsing the dishes!) Then turn on some music, have the kids load the dishwasher, and wipe down countertops and the table with a dampened Bounty with Dawn paper towel. If everyone pitches in, you’ll be done in no time.
2. Be Active Together
Family workouts and challenges are a great way to bond and grow closer. Whether you take an evening walk around the neighborhood, go on a weekend bike ride together or participate in a fitness challenge, being active as a family helps you all establish common goals, blow off steam and stay fit. To get face time with your extended family, sign up for a race, walk or other charity fitness event and invite other family members to join your team, train and participate with you.
Tip: Keep your family’s active wear clean and smelling fresh with Tide PODS with Febreze Odor Defense – the convenient pac removes the need for measuring and fights tough sweat odors. To prevent static and wrinkles in yoga pants, workout shirts and more, add a Bounce dryer sheet to the dry cycle.
3. Use Technology
Whether you need to check in with your kids throughout the day or keep in touch with family in different parts of the country – or even the world – social media and video calls are awesome tools to do so. Laptops, tablets and smart phones all feature apps and services that will help you contact your family members at the tap of a screen, and while it’s not the same as spending time in person, it can bridge the gap between regular contact and no contact, and is more convenient and affordable than landline phone calls. Set regular dates with extended family when your whole brood will be around to take part in the chat.
Tip: Technology is a great way to stay connected, but beware the lure of the screen – if everyone is on their smartphone during dinner, you might not actually be spending quality time together. If this sounds like your family (and you’re not alone!), establish rules about screen time. Maybe everyone puts down the tablet or phone for an hour to play board games or do chores together. Also consider scheduling one day a week with no technology (a tech-free Tuesday family night, perhaps!) in which you spend time with each other instead of with your devices.
How do you make time for your family? Share your favorite bonding tips here!