While the COVID-19 pandemic and all the restrictions have turned everyone’s life upside down, there may be a silver lining. You can use the pandemic restrictions to form that close family bond with your family that you hope for.
COVID-19 has transformed everything from how children are educated to how parents are working. The new normal can be used to ramp up that close family bond that keeps families together.
Realizing You’re Not As Close As You Thought
For many Americans, once their busy lives were put on hold because of the pandemic they suddenly realized that not only were their families lacking a close family bond but they barely knew each other.
For many families there is the pre-pandemic family and the pandemic family. Pre-pandemic, everyone was going in separate directions. The kids had school and extracurricular activities while the parents juggled careers, parental relationships, and supporting the kids. Life for many Americans occurred in a blur and happened in between carpools, kid’s sporting events, and the occasional meal together.
The pandemic family spends far more time together. No more school, no more working outside the home, and no more events to take the focus off the family. Everyone is together in the same place more than they ever have been.
The restrictions have given everyone the opportunity to slow things down and do some revaluation of their family dynamic. The big question is if you are in the group of Americans that have discovered that your family is lacking a close family bond, what can you do about it?
There are ways that you can use the pandemic restrictions to your advantage. This may be the opportunity to get to know your family better and develop that close family bond that will sustain your family through the good times and the bad times.
It Takes Work
Developing a close family bond is not something that happens automatically, it is something you have to focus on and plan. Typically, the responsibility for formulating a close family bond is left up to the parents.
According to the experts there are over 827,000 divorces every year. A close family bond can help to reduce the risk that your marriage will end in divorce. A strong family starts with strong parenting. It is vital that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to parenting.
Children are wonderful but they are also master manipulators. They learn pretty early on how to play two ends against the middle. It is always best that parental figures do not argue in front of the children about parenting decisions. Those conversations should be had out of earshot. Once a child realizes that there is a weakness in the parental force, they will exploit it to get their way. A united front is always the best.
The goal is to make every person in the family responsible for other members of the family. That of course, never means that one child should be appointed the other child’s keeper, but it does mean that conversations should be had about being responsible to each other.
Each child needs to feel like they are an important member of the family team. Assigning chore duties on a rotating basis and letting the children take on some of the responsibility for household chores is vital in developing a close family bond. When everyone has a chance to pull some of the weight it helps people to feel connected. Consider how you feel at work when your supervisor is grateful for your part in the last successful project. Your children will feel the same when they successfully play a role in household projects.
As each family member takes on responsibility and develops a sense of pride and accomplishment, it helps to build those close family bonds. Of course, it can’t be all work and no play, but it can’t be all play and no work that brings a family closer.
Think of your family as a sports team. Every member has a role and then every member comes together on that sports team to do their part and win the game. The same is true with families. Making the kids feel like they are working toward the same common goal can build a close family bond.
You can use the same tactics that any coach knows works. One of the proudest moments of joining any sports team is getting that team jersey. While it may be impractical to require the kids to walk around in a family team jersey, there are other ways to give them a sense of belonging to something bigger. A visit to the jewelers (in person or online) to purchase initial pendants representing the family’s last name can unify the family.
Other coaching tactics you can use include:
- Give everyone some field time. Teammates like to complain about each other. Kids like to complain about their siblings. A good coach never tells the other teammates what has been said. A good parent never tells other siblings what someone has said. Let them get their feelings off their chest and just listen.
- Not everyone gets a trophy. Don’t reward bad behavior, especially when it involves other siblings. If a child is being rude or mean, it should not be ignored. Fair is fair, so do your best to treat everyone the same.
- Relax the rules sometimes. Chores are important but sometimes it is okay to veer off course and just have some fun.
Building those family bonds starts with making everyone responsible to each other and responsible for their behavior. You can create a foundation of mutual respect and care in your home.
Make Those Memories
Every time that you are together as a family is an opportunity to make some memories. Being stuck indoors can really make everyone stir crazy. If you live in an area where snow is always in the forecast, investing in a snowmobile can be a great way to create family memories while you get the kids out of the house. Your local snowmobile dealer likely has some no contact sales and delivery options.
Getting outdoors together is a great way to build that close family bond doing something that everyone enjoys doing. Searching for used boats for sale, especially at the end of the traditional boating season, can be a great option for buying a boat on a budget and having something that everyone in the family can bond over.
Not quite ready to make those purchases? That’s okay, there are still plenty of things you can do with your family to develop a close family bond. How about a daily walk together that you turn into a scavenger hunt? Make a game of walking through the neighborhood. Make lists that include things the kids have to find on your daily walk like “find a yellow leaf” “find a blue mailbox.”
Mealtime is a great time to come together as a family and cook together. Even the littlest hands can help. Your children will have wonderful memories of how much fun it was to cook together then enjoy the meal. Choose kid-friendly recipes that everyone can help out with.
Home Improvement Can Be a Bonding Experience
The fact is kids love to help if you give them the opportunity. Most adults have very fond memories of working on the family car with a parent or participating in other DIY projects. Take the opportunity to buy those used Dodge Ram parts for sale and get the old truck running again while you are stuck at home and involve the kids. You are doing your kids a very valuable service by showing them how to manage vehicle repairs and, while you are at it, it is a great time to have some one on one time.
Building fond memories is not mutually exclusive to vacations or planned events. Sometimes fond memories come from just being a part of the plan and working toward a common goal. Find things around the house that need repairs. This is a great time to give the living room a fresh coat of paint or call a repairment to fix those broken springs in the garage. You have the time and if your kids are a little older, you have the extra set of hands that you need as well.
Let the kids help and get to know them while you are at it. It will help to develop the close family bond that keeps families strong.
Are the kids totally plugged into all their devices and you feel like your family is further apart than ever even though everyone is home more often? Unplug and pull out the Monopoly game, Scrabble, or even some Chutes and Ladders. Some good old fashioned board games can help to keep everyone engaged, make great memories, and create a close family bond.
Designate one night a week board game night. If no one in your family loves the idea of playing board games, try a family movie night complete with freshly popped popcorn. No one has ever died from staying off social media for an evening, but plenty of families have fallen apart by not unplugging once in a while.
Every Day Life
Children learn what they live. Even when you think they are not paying attention to you, they are. They are always watching and learning. It is important that they learn how to navigate the world, which means that as soon as they are old enough they should be out in the world with you.
Mundane tasks like grocery shopping can be a tremendous learning experience for kids and easily a time to bond. Going to see a medical professional can also be a time of learning for the children. If one kid has to get braces, then the other kids, if they are old enough, should tag along.
Taking the kids along to an orthodontics appointment, especially if they are younger siblings, can show them what they may expect when they get a little older and it can also help to teach them how to behave in those settings. If Janey goes along with Johnny to the orthodontist, she can see that the orthodontist did not hurt Johnny and will be a little more willing to go there if she needs to in the future.
Of course, taking the kids along to the chiropractic clinic may or may not be permitted because of the pandemic, but if it is you should because it can help to teach empathy. Understanding what is going on with a loved one can help a young child to develop empathy.
Whether Johnny needs clear braces or you need an adjustment, let the kids come if they are permitted. Being together is how you build a close family bond.
Expanding Your Family During a Pandemic
If you and your spouse have been considering expanding your family through adoption, there is no better time than during a pandemic while you are home and under restrictions to do it. Sounds crazy? Think about this:
- You will have plenty of time to get things ready.
- The children you already have are home. They will not feel jealous because they have to go to school every day while you stay home with the adopted child.
- The family will be able to build a close family bond because of the forced togetherness of the pandemic.
Many mothers are facing giving a child for adoption and are unsure of where their child will end up. The new normal of the pandemic likely means that you have plenty of time to seek out a mother that is preparing to give her child up for adoption, get to know her, and ultimately adopt the child.
Expanding your family through adoption can be the ultimate silver lining for your family during this pandemic. Of course, with the family working toward the common goal of expanding the family through adoption, you are also creating a close family bond.
Make the Best of Things
If you feel like your family could be doing a lot better in the close family bond department, make the best of the pandemic by working on family relationships. Your family may come out on the other side of this closer, stronger, and full of great memories that keep that close family bond flourishing.