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.
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.
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.
• 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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