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If you want to strengthen family bonds with kids and teens, it is important to create a loving and supportive family environment doing things that are not only fun but also meaningful.

It’s even more important to start immediately if you are struggling with a child who feels disconnected and doesn’t want to spend time as a family.

As a mom and teacher, I can give you some great tips to reconnect with your kids and teens. Check out these 9 strategies to strengthen family bonds, but first, what does it mean to strengthen family bonds?

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What Does “Strengthen Family Bonds” Mean?

When you strengthen family bonds it means you set aside time to specifically interact together as a family doing activities or a fun project. The reason to do this is so you develop a solid relationship with your kids.

The problem is that many parents don’t know they need to do this or don’t know what to do to truly connect as a family.

As a parent, you have the ability to make an incredible impact on your kids if you take the time to make a connection. It’s not a time to hash out family differences, lose your temper,  or discipline; it’s a time to express your love and reinforce it with lots of praise and encouragement.

You might be tempted to believe spending more time at Chuck E. Cheese or some other child-centered place is how to bond as a family, but family bonding runs way deeper than this.

It’s more than going to a soccer game, birthday party, or movie. If you want to strengthen family bonds, you must interact with the intention of unifying your family on multiple dimensions.

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What Are Three Important Points of a Family Bond?

Family bonds are essential for creating a sense of belonging, support, and connection within a family unit. Here are three important levels that highlight the significance of family bonds:

1. Kid fun:

Kid fun is the lowest level when strengthening family bonds. These activities are child-centered. Whatever are your children’s individual interests, encourage and support them. Invest in lessons and hobbies, and attend their school events, performances, and games.

Show genuine interest in what they are passionate about and do it with them.

The problem is parents stop at the first level. They think this is all there is to build a relationship with their children. But there is more!

  2. Family fun:

Family fun is the second level to strengthen family bonds. You are building on what your child likes but adding another dimension – others. It is not kid-centered, it is family-centered.

This often involves the sharing of values and traditions. These shared experiences of family life create a sense of identity and belonging that helps reinforce unity.

These priceless moments together are a part of passing down important beliefs and practices from one generation to the next.

3. Other-oriented fun:

The best and last idea to strengthen family bonds is through other-centered fun.

Most parents don’t do these types of activities because it takes time, planning, money, and an unselfish heart. And it is a struggle to get your kids to see the importance.

The earlier you start your kids, the easier it is to do these activities together. You may get some pushback from your kids; however, it’s important to stay engaged and keep going.

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It may be years later before you see the impact, but I promise, you are doing some of the most important family bonding you can do.

How to Strengthen Family Bonds with Kids (and Teens)

While “kid fun” is an important part of bonding, we are going to focus on “family fun” and “other-oriented fun” in this post. These upper-level ideas are important to incorporate into your family life.

Family Fun to Strengthen Family Bonds

Here are 9 ways to strengthen family bonds with your kids (and teens). Don’t forget to praise your kids when they participate with the family. Catch them doing things right. Here are some suggestions:

1. Eat Together

Sit down together for dinner most nights. Give time for each person in the family to talk. And never discipline at the table other than an occasional reminder of table manners. If you do, it will cut off the communication.

If you create a non-threatening environment filled with encouragement, your children will feel safe to open up; it will strengthen family relationships. You will learn things at the table you would never learn anywhere else

RELATED: How to Deal with a Picky Eater: 3 Easy Tips That Really Work

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2. Do a Devotional/Pray

Read a devotional that focuses on character. I found kids’ devotionals that told stories. They are much more interesting and relatable than facts. Ask a few questions at the end of the story so you can get feedback.

This is a great way to indirectly work on that “lying issue” or whatever else your child struggles with at the time.

Pray together daily at mealtime and bedtime. This is a fantastic way to teach empathy. Talk about those who are sick, missionaries, family members hurting, etc.

Let your children pray out loud for these people.

RELATED: How to Pray for Your Child: 6 Tips to Pray In Your War Room (Really Pray)

3. Celebrate Holidays/Make Traditions

Traditions are a wonderful way to connect with your kids. Some suggestions are baking cookies together, decorating the Christmas tree, cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, Easter egg hunt, Father’s Day shopping, etc

Some of the best traditions happen organically. Perhaps something only your family does together. One Christmas, when my kids were little, my husband tossed the pancakes from the stove to the table.  It was a long way. Some landed on the floor!

We have thrown pancakes on Christmas day every year since then. It’s our tradition. Create fun moments only your family does together.

RELATED: 51 Easy Christmas Activities For Every Age [ Letter to Santa]

4. Family Vacation

A family vacation is another way to strengthen family bonds. We have had some really great trips to wonderful places, but camping has been the most rewarding.

Yes, camping. Go figure. 

It was especially great because there were no cell phones to interrupt our time together as a family.

I am not the greatest camper. Everyone has laughed at my silly mistakes like hooking my fishing line on a chair, running from a rubber snake, and burning the food.

I have given the family plenty of stories to tell for years. But these stories are what make us a family.

Silly as they are, laughter and joy are powerful bonding agents, and sharing funny or heartwarming stories can bring family members closer together.

RELATED: How to Create Family Memories: Making Time For What’s Important [Printable]

See also  How to Refocus on the Importance of Family Values

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5. Go to Church Together

Going to church together every week is an important way to strengthen family bonds. It will help your family grow spiritually. You can talk about what your kids learned at Sunday School afterward.

If your kids are older, they can discuss the sermon.

We usually went out to lunch together after church so we could spend the time talking and catching up from the weekend. It was a natural way to build strong family ties.

My kids still enjoy doing this with us even though they have moved out of the house. 

RELATED: 15 Pro Tips for Raising a Teenage Son In Today’s World

6. Make Use of Deadtime

I have found dead time to be the most rewarding way to strengthen family bonds.

The time in the car going to school, driving to church, making dinner, laying in bed talking, or time in the car on a long road trip provided us with a way to let down and be real.

Because dead time is usually not filled with stress, it is easier to talk. Some days there may not be a lot said, other days it may be like a waterfall.

The trick is to be available to talk when your children need you.

It is a great time to encourage your children and their gifts.

Other-Centered Fun to Strengthen Family Bonds

7. Volunteer Together

If you want to strengthen family bonds, volunteer together. Don’t just drop your kids off. Stay. Most schools require a certain number of volunteer hours. Use the summer or holidays to do it together.

You will have something to talk about as a family. There will be bonding over what you experienced, and how you made a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

We have volunteered at a women’s shelter, we have served meals to people who didn’t have a home, and we have taken mission trips together as a family.

There is real gratification in knowing your family made a difference for someone that day. This definitely got to their heart and bonded us as a family.

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8. Go on a Mission Trip

For years my family has gone on a mission trip together in the summer. This was a fantastic way to strengthen family bonds.

Both of my kids say this was the best thing we did as parents. It was life-changing for our whole family.

It was rewarding to see the satisfaction in my children’s eyes after a hard day’s work. They knew they were directly impacting other people and helping them make a better life for themselves.

You may find your children are not excited at first, but keep working with them. They will come along in time if you stick with it.

I can’t tell you how many times my teen’s behavior changed after a mission trip. God worked in their hearts in a way I never could.

RELATED: The #1 Best Gratitude Activity to Do with Your Teenager

9 Give to Others

Make time to give to others. Find a reputable organization at Christmas time and shop for the gifts together as a family.

Your kids could even donate a couple of dollars toward the gift. I highly recommend Samaritan’s Purse or Angel Tree.

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If you don’t want to do that, find something in your community you can do as a family to give back.

It can be something as simple as finding a family in need and shopping for them together. Or help an older woman with her lawn or house repairs.

Another idea for bonding with children is to donate things your kids are not using. Most kids have more toys and books than they need. Have them go through their stuff and take it together to a Goodwill or a Salvation Army drop-off location.

My kids liked doing a lemonade stand in the summer. Have them donate a few of those dollars to someone in need. Teach tithe and offerings with their earned money.

RELATED: How to Raise a Kind Child: 17 Ways to Love Others

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strengthen family bonds

Why Are Strong Family Bonds Important?

Strong family bonds are important because they are built on a foundation of unconditional love which in turn creates a strong, healthy child.

When family members accept each other for who they are, including their strengths and weaknesses, they feel secure in other relationships.

Remember that building strong family bonds is an ongoing process that requires effort and commitment from all family members.

By creating a loving and supportive environment, you can strengthen the bonds between you and your children, fostering a sense of security and belonging in the family.

When you are connected, it will be easier to pass your faith down to the next generation. 

How do you strengthen family bonds at your house? Comment below.

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Is Your Marriage Struggling? Do You Want to Change Your Spouse?

Get Marriage Interrupted: How to Deal with Unexpected Conflict as a Couple and Stay in Love on Amazon or any digital platform. This book is filled with both humorous and impactful insights for anyone experiencing marriage conflict.

Included is biblical advice to help couples develop new behaviors and strengthen their marriage with healthy boundaries. With over 30 years of marriage experience, there are practical tips to not only overcome old patterns of behavior but also rekindle a marriage relationship that is rooted in God’s love.

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Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or have a family estrangement? Do you feel shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement (and reconciliation) from my Christian family but also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite digital bookstore.

Join the group Christian Family Living on Facebook

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.

21 Comments

  1. Pingback: Best parenting advice from real moms | A Heavenly Home

  2. I love this! I am a mom to 3 kiddos and struggle with the relationship with my oldest. I love how you have broken down the different areas. My husband and I definitely need to work more on our relationship with the kids.

    • Sara, I hope this information will help you with the relationship with your oldest. It is important to get to your child’s heart as soon as possible. It will help you diffuse problems if there is a relationship at the foundation.

  3. This is great! It’s so important to spend time with your kids and also to teach them about God and love and how important they are. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Judy, yes, it is important to get to your child’s heart and build a relationship with him. A relationship with your child is the foundation for good parenting. Thanks for reading.

  4. Great post! I especially love doing the activities they choose. Of course in my house it is usually some sort of craft! I have a craft room and so they will usually want to make t-shirts or tumblers and my 16 year old just started learning to sew. We have the best conversations and they are learning as well. They enjoy it so much!

    • Diane, doing things together like a craft is so great for casual conversation. What a great thing you have done. This is a sure way to get to your child’s heart through a relationship. You won’t be sorry you took time out to be with them.

  5. The best advice I was given about car time was: when you are driving your kids and friends around, turn the radio off and just listen. Don’t respond– just listen. It’s amazing what you learn about your kids when you do that

    • Yes! I did this. I learned a whole lot. It is amazing what kids will say. My daughter caught on so she would start texting her friends while in the car! Ha ha. She was smart.

  6. I never thought of teacher and coaches learning my child’s learning style but it’s so true! Thank you for these tips. We’re working on dinner times right now and I really want to start devotional times, too.

    • Yes! I did this. I learned a whole lot. It is amazing what kids will say. My daughter caught on so she would start texting her friends while in the car! Haha. She was smart.

  7. Love this. I think the busyness of life makes us forget how to be close with our children sometimes. Great info. Thanks for sharing

    • Danielle, it is easy to get busy with life and forget that we have precious children who need us to spend time with them. I wrote this post because I know how fast life goes. It is important to get to your child’s heart and help him to see that love is about a relationship. Rules are important but the foundation needs to be in place to make the rules worth keeping.

  8. Yaa Attobrah Reply

    Thank you for sharing these great ideas. Wish I had these when my kids were younger. I have been consistent still in the area of going to church, so lots of time to connect. We also have our goofy time at home of sharing. Bless your heart.

    • Sounds like you did a great job with your kids. You figured out how to spend good time with them and instill values and morals too. Thanks for reading.

  9. I love how you broke this down. Dead time is a great time to talk with kids that often gets overlooked. I love talking then because we are both in a place where we can’t leave and do something else. I love that you mentioned that. Dinner is important here. My husband isn’t always home. Dinner time is important. We try to talk about each of our days and what happened. Thank you Rachel from Explore Kid Talk

    • Rachel, I am so glad you practice these tips. I think a lot of these are common sense. We have just gotten so busy we have forgotten these family habits. Thanks for your comment.

  10. I love this post being a teacher and all. You’re right about having a relationship. We need to invest more in people if we want to have greater impact in their lives, whether they are our kids, students or any others that God has placed within our circle of influence.More blessings on your ministry in Jesus’ name.

    • I am so glad you validate this strategy. It is always nice to have another teacher weigh in when I write posts about education. I know there are so many ways to reach a child, but it all comes back to a relationship. Thanks for your comment.

  11. These are wonderful ideas and have given me a lot to think about! I’m a homeschool Mama of 3 and although I’m with them ALL the time, sometimes I struggle to connect with them. Thank you for sharing!

    • I homeschooled for a while. It was tough. You are so busy just trying to get the lessons done and everything else that connection sometimes seems moot since they are with you all day. Perhaps just stepping away and going to get ice cream or something is enough to have some downtime to talk. Many blessings on you for your huge sacrifice.

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