By: Devin Morrissey | Contributor
n the modern information age, it can be difficult to find time to connect with your family. Between your working life and the other obligations you have to attend to in order to keep your family happy and healthy, it can be easy to forget to spend actual, quality time with them. While social media makes it easier to connect with friends and family that are spread across the globe, it also makes it easier to neglect actual face-to-face time. Here are some activities to do with your family that can bring you closer together and strengthen the bonds you have.
1.Social Media Blackout
While social media can have an overall positive impact on your relationships, allowing you to directly connect with friends and family instantly, it can also negatively influence your close personal relationships. Consider having your entire family participate in a social media blackout, and use the extra time it gives you to have conversations with your family, even if you only talk about the weather. This time together is invaluable, and after a bit you might not even notice that social media isn’t present in your life.
When you cut social media out of your daily life, there are many benefits other than getting closer to your family. By avoiding scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, you’ll have much more time on your hands, and this gives you the opportunity to be more productive and creative elsewhere in your life. Social media can also make you start to compare your life to other people’s lives, but you can’t forget that on Instagram and Facebook, people have ultimate control over how they portray themselves to the world, and their lives most likely aren’t as perfect as they seem.
Social media can affect your well-being, both physically and mentally. Constantly scrolling through social media feeds can lead to depression, envy, and feelings of worthlessness because you are not focused on your own life and the good things within it like friends and family. Constant interaction with social media can also result in loss of quality sleep, as folks often spend time on social media in bed immediately before they are set to go to sleep. By cutting social media out of your family’s lives, you are setting them up for more meaningful connections with others as well as a renewed sense of self-worth.
2.Just go outside and create
It might seem redundant, but spending time with your family outside is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship. Whether you live in town or out on a lake, engaging in outdoor activities is a healthy way to bond with the entire family and can teach your kids about sportsmanship and fair play. You don’t have to play for hours on end either, as even a small amount of exercise can make you happier by releasing endorphins and dopamine, and the overall health benefits can’t be ignored.
If you’re lucky enough to live on a lake, consider building a dock with your family that you all can enjoy year-round. The building of the dock itself can be a bonding experience, and allowing the whole family to help can make everyone feel a sense of accomplishment when they are looking at the finished project. Covered docks can be enjoyed in the winter, as you can place an elevated fire pit in the center and roast marshmallows while you watch the snow fall around you. In the summer, you can enjoy a whole host of watersports from jet skiing to paddleboarding together, soaking up those beautiful summer rays.
For those living in the city or the countryside without a body of water in sight, there are still plenty of activities for you to enjoy. Bring your family to the nearest park and play some fun summer sports like volleyball, dodgeball, or ultimate frisbee. These team sports will help your family to act as a team off of the field as well by improving communication and trust. If you like things a little less structured, take your family on a hike or a run to get them out into nature and spend some quality time together.
3.Tour the Neighborhood
Unfortunately, the idea of a family neighborhood, one that is close knit where everyone knows their neighbors, is fading rapidly. Gentrification is displacing families from the neighborhoods that they have lived in for generations, forcing them into new areas where they don’t know their neighbors. A third of Americans admit to never having met their neighbors, so it is no wonder that there is often a lack of a sense of community in any neighborhood.
One way to get your family introduced to their neighbors is to start a community garden that anyone can help to manage or take any fruits and vegetables they want. Community gardens are valuable because they not only bring a neighborhood together to work towards a common goal, but they also consistently raise property values in areas, especially low-income neighborhoods that can suffer from a lack of access to fresh and healthy foods. Building a garden with your family can teach them about patience and the value of teamwork, and it is an excellent way to get to know your neighborhood’s residents.
Additionally, growing your own garden has a seriously positive effect on your health. Fresh fruits and vegetables grown without harmful pesticides are incredibly healthy, and with the costs of grocery staples growing, it makes sense to grow your own. Not only will growing your own garden help to teach your family about healthy living, but it can have a serious impact on your wallet as well!
TCS Final Thought
Family connections are important, because at the end of the day your family will always be there for you through thick and thin. Make time for them as much as you can, even if it is doing something as simple as playing cards or going on a walk. Strengthening your bonds with your family doesn’t take all too much effort, and the benefits can’t be understated. So take your family out, play a little flag football or go for a swim, and enjoy each other’s company!