According to a recent Gallup poll, 96 percent of Americans rank family as the most important thing in their lives. So what’s the secret to making family life fantastic? It’s not as hard as you might think! Here are 10 simple, silly suggestions that you can easily fold into your routine starting today.
1. EnJOY one another.
In a happy family, everyone enjoys one another. They are uplifting, treat one another well, and they are caring. They are happy to see one another when everyone wakes for the day or comes home from school or work. So make a point to enJOY (verb) the company of your spouse and kids, and check in during the day with a quick text or call to see how things are going. It helps you stay connected and lets kids know you always want to be around them—even when you can’t be.
2. Celebrate family history.
Happy families love who they are because they love where they’ve come from and they have a sense of sharing lives. So share those family stories with your kids—the funny stories, stories about hard times, stories about how they were born, and stories about how you’ve become the family you are today.
3. Make time for family dinner (or look for a twist).
You hear it again and again, and I can’t say enough about the benefit of the family dinner. Studies show children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, do drugs, commit suicide or get pregnant. They also have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthier diets and higher self-esteem. But here is something you may not have heard: It turns out family dinner conversation, the productive part, lasts only about 10 minutes. So that’s good news if you don’t have time to have family dinner every night. You can recreate the experience with a chat at breakfast, Saturday lunch or even over a cup of tea.
4. Your marriage comes first.
If the parents live together in the home, they are the center of a happy family. So give yourself permission to continue to strengthen your relationship because you not only set the tone for your family, but you also set an example for your kids. This is true even for parents who are no longer together. Make your relationship with your ex a positive, cooperative one—no matter what you circumstances. It’ll pay back in dividends when it comes to the kids and how they feel about their family and themselves.
5. Look for laughter.
Humor is all about creating a light, life-is-great-at-home vibe. Look for ways to laugh, even in life’s most frustrating moments—the spilled orange juice, the ripped pants. When those things happen, you have a choice: get flustered and mad or simply laugh it off and give everyone permission to laugh with you. Those are the rich, warm moments you and your children will remember.
6. Get into the game.
The family that plays together stays together. Playing together builds strong bonds and memories. So have a great time together, whether it’s fishing, shooting hoops or staying up late playing Monopoly. And create fun zones—places to play—at home. If your children have fun with YOU, they are more likely to have friends over, which, in turn, gives you a fantastic way to really be a part of your children’s lives.
7. Adapt and change.
Family is fluid; kids grow up, interests change, needs change, and our way of communicating changes. So it’s important that we are ready and willing to keep changing along with it. Studies show that people who are rigid or extremely reluctant to accept change are almost half as likely to have good communication with their families or feel close to their families. Very telling.
8. Wear your heart on your sleeve.
People are 47 percent more likely to feel close to family members who show affection versus those who don’t. So hug, cuddle, tickle, touch and tell your family you love them—early, often and every day.
9. Be positive (especially when times are tough).
Be positive, always, always, always. Studies show that just by being positive you can reduce your family’s stress level by 60 percent. Tough times don’t seem so scary to kids who see their parents handle it in stride.
10. Reduce stress.
Do you know what kids want most from their parents? It’s not money or things or even more time spent together. According to the Families and Work Institute, a child’s number one wish is that his or her parents are less tired and less stressed. So do everything you can to reduce your own stress and create a stress-free zone at home. It’s good for you and it’s great for your kids.
For more simple ideas on how to have fun with your family, visit TheLadyWithTheAlligatorPurse.com.