With the holidays right around the corner, let's seize the opportunity to spend some quality time with our families and strengthen familial bonds!
Family bonding is important because it makes individuals feel worthy of love and respect. This improvement in self-esteem is crucial for children who are still forming their identities and becoming emotionally mature . Secure family bonds also reduce the likelihood of children mixing with the wrong group and engaging in underage smoking or drinking . Research has also shown that elderly relatives are less likely to engage in self-harm when they can turn to relatives for companionship and support . In addition, spending more time together as a family strengthens your communication and listening skills , making it easier for conflicts to be resolved within the family with members feeling seen and understood.
Here are some fun and engaging activities which children, parents and grandparents can bond over during the holidays.
#1: Learn something new: Learning is a lifelong journey. Children and teens in the family can start the learning process by picking up a foreign language or a dance. They can share their newfound knowledge with parents and grandparents afterwards by teaching the whole family. This way, the different generations can bond over a common topic and learn something new in the process.
#2: Go on a road trip or camping: Get away from the hustle and bustle of city life by going on a road trip to visit a series of quaint neighbourhood cafes or heritage sites in Singapore. You can also go camping if you do not have a vehicle at your disposal. Everyone in the family can gain unique experiences such as pitching a tent and cooking over an open fire, which cannot be obtained elsewhere. Record the best moments of your trip for your family to look back on many years later. The videos your family records can even be shared on social media.
#3: Complete household chores: Throwing a Christmas gatherings for extended family and friends at home this holiday? Distribute the pre and post-party chores fairly by assigning difficult tasks, such as food preparation and cooking to older family members, whereas children can do simpler chores, such as taking out the trash or wiping the table after the meal. Grandparents can also help with chores that require movement to maintain their physical health but are not too strenuous, such as light grocery shopping or hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree. Have some of these chores overlap to encourage collaboration between members of the family. This way, everyone takes responsibility for the upkeep of the family home during the festive period. You can even assign points for each task so that the children can exchange the points they've earned for a reward at the end of the week or month.
#4: Volunteer: Volunteering is linked with having better mental health and feeling more emotionally fulfilled . Families can also learn how to embrace differences among themselves and members of the community while volunteering together . Parents and grandparents can lead by example and teach children to be more empathetic through volunteer work. Here are some volunteering opportunities for the family.
Keeping the family together goes beyond taking part in bonding activities during the holidays. There are several strategies in planning family-friendly activities so that you can continue strengthening your relationship with the family.
How to plan family-friendly activities
Establish and maintain a routine: Routines are important for creating a sense of belonging and security within family relationships. Introduce the routine slowly and give your relatives time to adjust. Your family members might enjoy and look forward to spending time with you after familiarising themselves with the routine.
Provide options and flexibility: It is important to factor in different family members’ needs before deciding on a bonding activity. This is especially true for elderly members who have limited mobility and get tired more easily. Communicate with your family and leave some room for flexibility with your plans. Let younger members of the family have a say in activity planning as well so that nobody feels left out.
Be proactive: Find time to talk with your family members about holiday plans and show your interest. Be sure to spend equal time with each member. This way, everyone feels included and is more open to participating in family bonding activities.
The whole family can greatly benefit from bonding activities. Start creating lasting relationships with family members built on mutual respect and understanding by spending time together!
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- 2. “The Importance of Spending Time Together.” Parenting NI, 18 Aug. 2017, https://www.parentingni.org/blog/time-together-importance/.
- 3. Ong, Lauren. “Elderly Self-Harm a Growing Concern; SOS Sees Slight Increase in Crisis Calls over Past Year.” CNA, 8 Oct. 2022, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/seniors-self-harm-under-reported-2994311.
- 4. “Communication Skills for You and Your Family: Cooperative Extension: University of Delaware.” Communication Skills for You and Your Family | Cooperative Extension | University of Delaware, https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/canr/cooperative-extension/fact-sheets/comunications-skills-your-family/.
- 5. Yeung, Jerf W., et al. “Volunteering and Health Benefits in General Adults: Cumulative Effects and Forms.” BMC Public Health, vol. 18, no. 1, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4561-8.