Family bonding activities – insights to help connect deeply

By Eren Mckay  
Filed under Family Fun Activities, Good Parenting Skills

mom and daughter hugging
Bonding is emotional- you need to be present.

   You’ve probably been searching for family bonding activities and may have even found some great ideas.
But I want to share with you that bonding is more of an emotional and spiritual connection than something that can be achieved with outward situations.

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Of course having activities to do is always a great “setting” in which the actual connection occurs. Activities are ways to get the “brain waves” going and provide a context for bonding.

   An outward activity can create the circumstance but it can’t prepare your heart. If you spend all day doing things with a person but you’re not genuinely there with them at any moment you won’t truly bond. This post has several ideas for bonding between a parent and a child but many of the truths can be applied to other relationships too. I’ve compiled a list of ideas and activities that you can do with your child at the end of the post. But before you start doing those activities, you really should understand the right mindset to have for true bonding to happen.

Relationships start with the act of loving.

white lamb hugging a heart Love is a decision. It’s much more than a feeling. It’s a decision to do what is best for the other person. Sometimes you may even get angry at your loved ones. But when you truly love them, you put your feelings aside and don’t act selfishly.
When you love someone you think about them and their needs. If you do that with your children consistently, they will start to understand that they can trust you because you always show that you care about them. If your thought process is to always do what is best for your kids, it’s only natural for them to love you back. Focusing on them is where it all begins.

Concentrate on drawing close to your child or else other things will deter you.

Home is where you heart is. If your heart is not determined to make that “connection” it simply won’t happen. Something else may grab your attention or you might get preoccupied with things on your “To Do List”.
Having that internal resolution to connect is an important step to bonding and will help you keep working at it. Being in the right mindset will allow you to live in the moment and be there whole heartedly.

Little things make a huge difference in bonding.

Bonding is something that can occur daily in the little things. There’s a quote that goes like this: “Little and often makes much.” When building relationships, this saying fits like a glove. Small things go a long way if they are done with the right motivation (which is true love). Here are a few bonding ideas that you can incorporate into your daily life:

• Genuinely praise who your child is as a person and also their accomplishments.

• Be affectionate by hugging them, holding their hand.

• Look into their eyes. Smile. Tell them that you love them.

mom and son • Ask them questions about how they feel and what they like or about what they are doing. Have a true interest in what interests them. (Make sure that your body language is matching with your words.)

• Ask for their opinions on what you are working on. Listen to what they have to say and give them feedback on their opinions.

• Be conscious of how they are emotionally and try to help them if they are “feeling down.” This is also very important so that you don’t require more of them than they are able to give at that moment.

Nothing is better than alone time with your child.

While there are many things that you can do as a family unit and in your daily life, I have personally found that the strongest connections occur when you are alone with your child. Having other people around (even if they are loved ones) inhibits the conversation from going into deep topics. Also, the presence of others many times might distract you from being aware of how your child is feeling. Once you discover how rewarding alone time is, you’ll always want to carve out the time in your schedule to have this with your kids.

Don’t be afraid to open your heart.

There’s a verse that says:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”1 John 4:18
You see when there is fear you truly can’t experience love. Fear will hold you back. Fear is a wall. Fear is a barrier. If you want to experience the deepest kind of love that there is, you have to put fear aside and give yourself entirely.
Allow your loved ones to know you in a way that others can’t even understand. Show your inner most feelings and thoughts and the love will grow. Putting yourself in this position will make you vulnerable. But it’s so worth it to take that leap because this is the true meaning of life: To love and to be loved.

Conversation is one of the best ways to establish a bond.

Communicating is sharing who you are. When you talk about very profound things, an invisible tie forms. So when you are alone with your child let them get to know you deeply as a person.

What is the best way to go about choosing conversation topics?

During your alone time there are many things that you can talk about that will help your kids in various aspects of their lives. Of course you want to consider their age level and maturity before delving into certain topics 😉 .

One of the things that I do with my kids is I see what they are going through at school or emotionally and make those things the center of our conversations. Asking questions in a non probing way will help them start to talk about what is going on in their lives. By listening to what they say, you can determine which topics are the most important to cover. Share the lessons that you have learned from your own personal experiences so that they can benefit from them.
I can honestly tell you that hanging out and talking about deep things things with my sons is the most fulfilling experience ever.

What about you?

Do you ever take the time to connect like this?
Do you ever tell your loved ones where you are emotionally?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. And if you haven’t done so already, sign up with your email for the Embracing Home newsletter and get inspirational resources for your home and family.

Here is the list of ideas for family bonding activities:

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• Play board and card games.
• Turn on exciting music and dance.
• Cook special cookies or
decorate a gingerbread house.
• Create things for your family identity such as: a family cookbook, a family flag, a family poem or song, etc.
• Create a family album together (scrapbook).
• Get out your camera and take fun pictures of each other.
• Help your kids with their homework.
• Read a fun story to them.
• Teach them a skill that they will need in life ( computers, a language, etc.)
• Do home chores together while listening to great songs.
• Make a list of things that you need to buy and go shopping with them.
• Have a special tea or ice cream party.
• Go hiking or some other fun sport.
• Buy a book of jokes and read it to them.
• Watch a family movie – Children’s & family entertainment
• Make a gift basket together for someone special.
• Volunteer to do charity work together.

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25 Comments on "Family bonding activities – insights to help connect deeply"

  1. Pati Nanni  

    Hi dear!! I’m glad to know you and I’m here to thank you for all words. They makes me feel great ( indeed!! lol).
    This post has made me see how wonderful bonding can be.
    see ya – blessings,
    Pati Nanni

  2. Sire  

    A great list of ways of bringing people closer together Eren. I think what stops some people in their tracks is that life is generally too busy and they are too tired that moments like the ones you describe just slip by. This is a great loss and people should take the time to become more aware so that they can embrace such moments.

  3. Ching Ya  

    You brought out a very important factor ~ it’s the little thing that counts; and actions do matter. Our society is never too ‘open’ into expressing ourselves via gestures, it could be due to how we are raised here. I remember during my last family trip, before departing at the airport I hugged my big brother for the first time! He was surprised but he hugged back too, then he hugged my parents too (and my mom was so touched that she cried) ha.. From that point on, I know that when you feel like doing something just go for it. If words can’t express how you feel, do something about it.

    To show my gratitude for this lovely message, I’m going to stumble, bookmark & RT for you. ^^ Like how you’ve always been supportive to me too. Bless you, Eren!

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  4. Girish Chandran  

    I second Sire. The hectic lifestyle we lead is just jinxing up these wonderful things in our lives. I remember sunday evenings when I was a kid, where all the members will join together have fun irrespective of their schedule. But now its hard to meet them even once in a month. Eren, your post has some incredible tips with which we can regain all those lost treasures 🙂

  5. BK  

    I couldn’t agree more with you that, “When you love someone you think about them and their needs.” From a previous article I read, “Kindness to yourself and to others comes from a desire to support your own highest good and the highest good of others. When your highest priority is to support the highest good of all, you are naturally kind. You don’t even have to think about it. It flows easily when your deepest desire is to be a loving, caring person.”

    Indeed, when our priority is to support the highest good of our children, then we would be naturally loving and kind to them too. They in term will feel the love.

    In our fast pace life where most people are busy working, they have forgotten to stop and talk with their children. And you couldn’t be more right that conversation with children is very important. When we listen deeply to them, we are not only connected to them, we also created the support and trust.

  6. Rich Avery  

    Hi Eren, thanks for sharing these great tips. My wife and I have 5 kids. I’ll be forever grateful to a mentor of mine who taught me to be “fully present” in the moment, whenever I spend time with them, whether reading, doing an activity, playing a game, whatever. Sometimes, my mind wanders off toward other things, but then I re-focus and remember that I need to make them feel like they’re the most important person in the world.

  7. Maria @ Conversations with Moms  

    Like always, well written. I believe that the little things make all the difference. They are usually the ones that count the most.

    I definitely agree that Quality time is one of the best gifts you can give someone.

  8. Eren Mckay  

    @Patti – I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. I’m also very glad to know you (You’re one of the sweetest people I know.)

    @Sire – Yes life is very busy and there are so many responsibilities and problems to solve. One of the things that helps get me focused when I want to spend alone time with my boys is I write a list of things that I believe we would like to do together. That way it keeps us both interested. It also helps me to never wonder what to do next or get bored. ( I just look at the list. )
    I also sometimes write down topics to talk about with them. Works really great. Tonight I just sang to them before going to sleep 🙂

    @Ching Ya – Thank you so much for sharing your touching story. I love helping other people express their feelings and demonstrate their love as this is what is needed in this world. There is a saying that goes something like this: Someone you love may be starving for a compliment. I take that to heart and always make sure that the people that I love know that I love them. I don’t ever want to look back in my life and say: “I should have shown love more often.”

    @Girish – We also had Sunday meals with the entire family here in Brazil. Every Sunday my ginormous family got together. It was awesome and created such a close bond between us all. I miss those. Now I eat lunch with my parents every Sunday. Every one of those moments are treasures as you said.

    @BK – Yes. Taking the time to stop and enter into their conversation is one thing that I always do. Sometimes it’s not easy as I’m not really into Bakugan and all those boy things LOL. But I try to find something interesting about it so that they can feel somewhat of an excitement when they talk to me about what they enjoy. We enjoy music together as we have very much the same taste so that’s good common ground.

    @Rich – Your mentor is right on. Being fully present may take us some emotional preparation but it is worth it. As you said, focusing on them is one of the best things to do. It helps build their self esteem.

    @Maria – Yes quality time makes all the difference in the world for our children. The one thing that I’m excited about is planning an ice cream party for the boys. They totally love ice cream so it’ll be so much fun.

    Thank you all for your tweets, stumbles and support in general. Always appreciated.
    Blessings my friends ♥,

  9. Danny  

    Hey Eren another great post, I love your images very cool. I agree the little things in life are important and can make all the difference in the world when it comes to bonding with your family.

  10. james samy  

    Hi Eren,

    Great post and thanks for sharing your thoughts to me and all. Keep up your good work and I am sure God will give your much more abundance to you and also your family

  11. Hugh DeBurgh  

    Hi Eren!

    I just discovered your terrific blog and I really identified with this post.

    I just spent four months traveling with my wife and four children.

    One of the most important things that I discovered on this journey was to take a few moments out of each day and spend that time totally focused on each of my children.

    Once I started doing this my relationship with each of my children improved significantly (though I had always thought it was good before).

    It didn’t matter what we did together. In fact, sometimes it was better to just do nothing. It didn’t matter what we talked about, either. Usually it was whatever they were doing just before the conversation. But the subject was irrelevant.

    What I saw in those moments was what mattered. It was the look on their face once they realized that I was actually listening to what they said. I may have had zero interest in their Pokemon cards or whatever, but that didn’t matter. I cared about Them, so I listened with concentrated focus to them, and they bloomed in front of my eyes.

    I believe that everything thrives when we pay attention to it. But this is never more important than with our children.

    So I try to keep things simple. Remember what really matters to you. And make sure that you spend a bit of time each day totally focused on them. Enter their personal space (with permission, of course) and show them that you respect them as real human beings. Show them that what they think and care about actually matters.

    This really works!

    Your blog is terrific! And thanks for the opportunity to comment!

    All the best,


  12. Eren Mckay  

    @Danny – Bonding is what it’s all about. And yeah – images just inspire us don’t they? It takes a while to decorate these posts but I think the feeling that is conveyed is totally worth the effort.

    @James – Thank you my friend. Glad you enjoyed this post.

    @Hugh – Thanks so much for sharing what worked with your family- very insightful. Being present and in the moment is something that children and even adults can sense. When we’re not present the feeling of truly not caring is immediately perceived.
    One thing that also helps me stay present is picking to do something that actually interests me a lot. Also writing a list of those things on a small piece of paper helps keep family time really fun.
    One more things I do is “google” up jokes and share them at family time. Those funny jokes make family time the best time ever.
    Thanks for all your comments.
    Blessings always ♥,

  13. Regina Baker  

    Great post Eren! Your list of ideas for family bonding is awesome ~ thanks for sharing.

  14. Mary Blackburn  


    What a great post. My kids are adults now with kids of their own, but we had great times when they were little. One of my favorite pictures that we have, is while we were camping, of my husband, our son, 13 and daughter 12, sitting around the picnic table while our new lab puppy is sleeping under the table and my husband is reading Hoyle’s Book of Rules on how to play Canasta. The kids look absolutely exasperated but we all laugh about that to this day.

    We spent a lot of time with our kids doing “family” things and always tried to have dinner together as a family every night.

    I now try to spend as much time with my 2 little granddaughters as possible. My favorite time is cooking and baking with them.

  15. Eren Mckay  

    @Regina – Thanks! It’s a subject that’s very close to my heart ♥.

    @Mary – Yes those are priceless. My mom gave us the most awesome family memories. I remember waking up Easter morning with a stuffed white bunny and a basket filled with Easter goodies. Then we went egg hunting in the yard – so awesome.
    By the way, I found a cool site for cooking with kids that might be a great resources for you and your granddaughters.
    It’s called Spatulatta (a bunch of video recipes):

    Blessings ♥,

  16. Jarrod  

    Hi Eren,

    One thing I want to share, and it closely relates to what you stated about praising your child for who they are, is when I was younger, my parents always told me that they were proud of me.

    I heard it a lot. And it presented a great sense of validation for me that if my parents are proud of me then that’s made me feel loved.

    Til this day I’ll always remember that so that piece of advice especially resonates with me. Thanks for sharing!

    Great post!


  17. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Jarrod,
    Thanks so much for sharing that wonderful piece of advice here. We all need to use praise more often. Sometimes we are so quick to criticize yet a word of praise may be rare. It should be the other way around. So glad you reminded us of this truth.
    All the best,

  18. Melanie (ModernMami)  

    Lovely reminders and advice for truly spending time with family and bonding.

  19. Debbie Lattuga  

    I really enjoy doing mundane things together. Like hanging out in the kitchen while they do their homework. And sitting on their bed (not talking, just being together) when they are going to sleep.

    I find just being with them without an agenda offers the most potential for bonding.

  20. Karla Bond  

    Great idea.. You are full of wonderful tips. THanks.

  21. Young And Fabulous  

    Yes, I totally agree, we always need to be in the moment when we’re spending time with kids, that’s why electronics like computers, phones, etc. should be set aside and away so you can fully connect with your kids without those kinds of distractions. Excellent tips, Eren!

  22. Eren Mckay  

    @Melanie – Thanks. Spending time with my family is one the biggest reasons I decided to work at home 😉

    @Debbie – So true… Sometimes the simplest things can create such a deep bond with our children. It’s all about finding ways to connect and even cooking together can create that bond.

    @Karla – Thanks Karla. Recently I started filing papers next to my boys while they watch T.V.

    @Cherrie – True sometimes a good old fashioned conversation is the best route to take.

    Blessings ♥,

  23. Janis Miller  

    You have made some very important and valuable observations in this post, Eren. You have listed some great family activities, too. I know there are many more, but I would like to add a little bit about computers. Computer time can really take away from family if we aren’t careful, but there are ways it can also help. My children are grown and most have families of their own now. I love reading their blogs about what they are doing as a family. It really helps me feel closer to them. We can also let them know what Grandma and Grandpa are up to. 🙂 Additionally we enjoy having visits with them using our webcams. It is fun to see our grandchildren and hear about what they are doing and hopefully when they see Grandma and Grandpa on their computer it helps them to remember us. 🙂

  24. Eren Mckay  

    Great suggestions Janis!
    I also feel that there are ways that we can add technology to enhance our family experience instead of taking away from it. Facebook has been a cool add in our family lives to interact with everyone.
    Thanks for the ideas ♥

  25. manasi  

    Such a wonderful post!

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