The Family That Plays Together Stays Together.

We have just had another wonderful day down at the river.

Whenever the weather is good we pack up our picnic things and our skiing things and head of. We usually have another two families that meet us there so between us there are 7 children.

The good thing about these days are that we all play together. We have learnt to water ski and tube, the kids fish, swim, run around etc. We all ‘play’.

The grown ups all comment about how much fun it is to come together for days of complete relaxation. The good thing is that our kids are with us. They are not wandering the streets or hanging out with other kids or families that may have different values to ours, they are with US. We all hope that if we are an active family that does activities that all ages enjoy, then we will keep our kids from wandering off the path !

Tips For Building a Strong Family

1. Build a Family Identify – give kids a strong sense of who they are. Treat you family as your team. Use positive language such as “ we are the Jones family…” “ The Jones family always…..” make up funny and memorable things about your family.

2. Establish your family values by defining them through the above e.g. “ In the Jones family we treat each other with respect”

3. Develop a strong family history. Children love hearing stories about when you were young, or when they were babies etc. In days gone by oral traditions were very important. We talk so much less now that we all glue ourselves to the TV. So tell your stories to keep the history alive.

4. Develop Family Celebrations. Kids love predictability and rhythm. Celebrate the little things with special dinners or treats. Build up to bigger celebrations such as birthdays and Christmas by preparing weeks in advance. Kids love the suspense and the countdown. Develop Family Traditions by repeating key components of celebrations, for example, 1st December is always the night that we play Christmas carols and unpack the decorations and tree. The children are SO excited by knowing that this is the way it always is.

5. Play together as a family. There is no better way to develop a sense of belonging, than to actually spend time together.

My challenge to you if you still have your children at home, is to simplify things. Don’t be tricked into thinking that if your children aren’t doing 3 after school activities a week that they are ‘missing out’.

What kids are missing out on today is the chance of being kids in a family that is calm and well rounded and most of all loving ! So, slow down. Create routines and rhythms by which you run your house in a smooth manner rather than a frantic timetable of trying to keep up with everyone.

Just stop. Think. And Play.


Polly said...

Very good advice. I've never understood the need to have children involved in all sorts of after school and weekend activities rather than doing things together.

Unknown said...

A great post ~ a friend of mine has 3 children and they all do 3-4 after school activites each and all Sandy does is rush around driving her children everywhere and spends the late afternoon wearing herself out!!

We love our walks with the dogs together, as well as picnics/outings together as a family.

Anonymous said...

What a great post. The simple family traditions are what we all remember and what our children will hopefully remember too, not all the stuff they have or all the time spent in the car or waiting around to pick someone up. I have 4 children and they are allowed only 1 outside school activity each, they must choose. Only 3 of them do any activity and 2 of them do seasonal stuff, so it's only for part of the year. That is all too much for me, I have no idea how people manage when they do several things.

cheers Lenny

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