family stays connected

Five Ways to Make Sure Your Family Stays Connected

Ensuring our families stay connected is something that every dad desires.

You know your family. You know your spouse’s trigger points, what’s going on with their day and  what bothers them. You know what is going on in your kids’ lives: their friends, their favorite activities, their sensitivities. Whoa-wait-do you? When is the last time you sat down and really listened, or scheduled an activity together and really made quality time? Too many times our best intentions to build the connections with our family are overlooked by our busy schedules and outside commitments. Changing just some of our simple daily habits, though, can really help strengthen the most important connections of all.

Your Family Stays Connected By Taking a Few Minutes to Talk Everyday

Yeah, you ask your kids how they’re doing, but are you really paying attention, or are you absentmindedly listening while mentally going over that meeting with your boss you had an hour ago? Admit it, you’ve done it before; most of us have. But listening and truly paying attention to what they have to say helps to build those bonds. It just makes people feel important when you really listen. Think about it: when someone is really engaged and listening to you, you know it. You also know when someone is just half way there. You just feel better when the other person is actively listening: asking good questions and being present.

Schedule an Activity

It doesn’t have to be a trip to DisneyWorld (unless that’s what you really want to do), it’s the daily activities of simply playing with your kids. Our intentions might be good, but if it’s not in our routine schedule, we may not get to it. You schedule meetings for work, why not schedule activities with your family; the reason you go to work?

Do Physical Activities Together

No, this doesn’t mean putting your kids to work pulling weeds in the yard while you mow the lawn. Spend some times outside: go for a walk, throw a ball, wrestle. Whatever it is, the simple act of being active together creates a different bond than just sitting on the couch (there’s quality in that, too, just not all the time). Schedule a hike or set a goal of doing a challenge course together (Color Run, anybody?).

Have a Meal Together and Express Gratitude

It doesn’t have to be the Beaver Cleaver family meal at 5 o’clock; dinner can be whenever you can connect. And when you’re sitting around that table eating (please don’t talk with your mouth full), maybe say something you’re grateful for. Heck, why not make it something you’re grateful for about someone at that very table? While you’re at it, make this a tech-free zone. Nothing says “I’m physically present, but not mentally here” like a cell phone at the table.

Pay Attention to the Small Stuff

Small Stuff. The stuff that keeps gnawing at the back of our minds when we have a moment’s down time. Paying attention to our spouse’s and kids’ small stuff helps them know we care enough to listen to their deepest needs. You might even help them take that small stuff off of their plate!
Daily habits can be changed. It doesn’t take moving a mountain to do it, either. Really, it’s just a conscious effort to take what you typically do in a day and just insert some of these 5  easy steps to make those family connections even stronger.



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Thank you for checking out this week’s episode on 5 Ways to Make Sure Your Family Stays Connected.

5 fun home activities to do with your kids

5 Fun Home Activities To Do With Your Kids – GDP006

“5 Fun Home Activities to Do with Your Kids” Episode Overview

Larry Hagner and Shawn Stevenson discuss the current staggering statistics of the amount of TV our kids watch on a weekly basis. Larry and Shawn share 5 key strategies to make quality time at home memorable, fun, and interactive without depending on TV.

Listening to this episode will give you ideas that will immediately impact positive interaction with the entire family.

Key Take-Aways

“TV viewing among kids is at an eight-year high. On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV — watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV. The vast majority of this viewing (97%) is of live TV.” — University of Michigan study

Larry and Shawn want to help our kids get away from so much solo screen time and to more time making memories with family and interacting in person! They want to help our kids function better in real life and the physical world.

Activity #1: Game Night

A classic family activity. Generally, to have the best game nights, you need to find something that will include everyone and make things fair. Board games are terrific options to play. If you really want to include technology/electronics, then consider using an app version.


  • Sorry
  • Pictionary/Junior Pictionary (great for laughs with kids)
  • Trouble (sound effects add a fun element, especially for younger kids)
  • Catchphrase
  • Scrabble/Junior Scrabble
  • Charades


Activity #2: Create Vision Boards

Vision boards allow you to see the life the you want to create. They can be empowering, especially when they can be seen on a daily basis, since it gets ideas and goals out of a person’s mind and makes them more tangible. By using a poster board with images or words found in magazines or online, you can make a collage of all the things you want to see come to pass in your life. Having a few material things on there are OK, but it’s more meaningful to get away from consumerism and materialism.

Vision boards also give an important opportunity to help instill into your kids the power of service, thinking outside of themselves and ways they can contribute and better themselves.

Reasons why this works well as a family activity:

  • Great for imagination and creativity
  • Creates a creative and interactive fun environment
  • Builds relationships and understanding by providing opportunities for conversation and discussion


Activity #3: Movie Night with Flair

If you are going to have screen time, do it as a family and make it an event.

Here are two tips:

  • Make it into a “picnic movie night”: Include popcorn/snacks or pizza, drinks, and put down a blanket on the floor
  • Choose the movie beforehand so that you’re not wasting time scrolling through Netflix


Activity #4: Create Artwork

Arts and crafts. Pick an activity and get all the supplies before hand. Pinterest is great for ideas!

For example, Larry and his 7 year-old son made Leprechauns this year for St. Patrick’s Day. They made green leprechaun hats and orange beards, and they absolutely loved it.


  • Get washable paints, canvases, and smocks (kids will love this!)
  • Sketching
  • Besides crafts, create other forms of artwork (examples: writing poems or short stories)


Activity #5: Go Outside

Get some of that Vitamin D from sunshine! (Don’t forget the sunscreen.) Take in nature.

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a family bike ride
  • Make chalk art on the sidewalk and driveway
  • Play any sport in the backyard (examples: wiffle ball; soccer; catch with baseball/football)
  • Play basketball in the driveway, if you have a hoop
  • Take a family walk
  • Take a family jog

Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS



Links Mentioned in This Episode

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