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.