Everyone wants the perfect white fence, happy family but is that really out there for anyone? I don’t think any family is perfect, but you can certainly be happy with your family. Like any relationship, family relationships take work and effort but the work and effort you put into it comes with many rewards. Look at this list of 7 secrets to a happy family not so much as secrets per se but ideas of what you can do to better your family life.
- Spend Time Together. Many times families are pulled in different directions and barely get to see each other at all. With our faced paced society parents are working 40+ hours per week and kids are in school 30-38+ hours per week. Pile afterschool activities and the night time ritual of bathing, laundry, dishes, and straightening. Not to mention sleeping which takes up 7-10 hours of our day. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for family bonding. Make sure you set aside quality time together as a family. This could be as simple as watching a movie together as a family at home or having family game night. Practice and instill that family comes first and that quality family time is important!
- Less is More. Teach your family that having less stuff can be more. When our homes are too cluttered it can be overwhelming for both children and parents alike. This creates anxiety and disturbances among the family balance and what is really important can be lost in the chaos. Spend some time with your family determining what material things are important to you and let the rest go. This will have your family enjoying what they really love instead of getting lost in all of the “extras” that we only have because we are a society of acquisition. Some families with less financial availability have a better understanding of this because they don’t waste their money on frivolous things, simply because they can’t afford it. “More” doesn’t always mean more happiness.
- Fight a Little. You’re probably wondering how this will make you a happier family but a little healthy arguing is good for anyone. Siblings learn how to compromise and work things out and parents do too. A healthy disagreement between parents is a good way for your children to learn how adults can work things out in a healthy, productive way. Bonus for the parents-you get to make up how ever you want to (wink, wink).
- Eat Together. This one is so simple but seems to be happening less and less. Often times I can be at a restaurant and see a family at a table together and everyone has their head in their cell phones. They don’t even look at each other! Turn off the television and make a no electronics rule during meal time (even if it’s just dinner time). Dedicate this time talking to each other and enjoying each others conversation. try not to discipline during this time (unless it is warranted by siblings throwing food at each other). In other words, don’t use this time to express disappointment in something they are/aren’t doing, rather use this time to spend authentic, quality time with the family.
- Charity as a Family. Do something to give back as a family. It can be as simple as serving a family in need a meal or tithing to church. Whatever it may be that you do, do it as a family. It teaches your children kindness and giving back instead of just taking or receiving.
- Respect Each Other. Be kind to each other and use kind words. Don’t curse or call each other names. When children see their parents treat each other with respect they are more likely to imitate that behavior and treat themselves and others the same. Make sure if you are having a discussion or an argument you do it in a respectful way. Don’t yell or raise your voices and try to control your tone so that it is not degrading.
- Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. Although this may sound contradicting to #1Spend Time Together, it’s really not. Take for instance the stay at home mom who homeschools her children. She is with them 24/7. Or the parents that are employed at the same company or have a work from home philosophy and are together most of the day. Just like most things in life, too much of anything is not good. There has to be a good balance of spending time together as much as spending time apart. So don’t feel guilty going out with your girlfriends for a girls night out or sending the kids to grandma’s for the weekend.