Wondering how to improve family life? You can do some simple things to help your family be happier. Try out these ideas to strengthen your family:
1. Pray together as a family once each day.
In our family of seven people, we each took a day of the week to say all the prayers for that day: family prayer, prayer at meals, and any other prayers. “Whose day is it to pray?” was heard often at our house.
2. Eat together at a sit-down meal at least three times a week.
More often is even better. With busy schedules, family members can end up just communicating logistics—who is going where and when? But a sit-down meal provides an opportunity for everyone to slow down, reconnect, and just enjoy one another’s company.
3. Tell each of your children this individually:
“If there is anything I say or do that makes you feel worthless or not good enough, stop me and tell me. I love you and want to treat you with respect and honor.” And then listen carefully to what they have to say. The best way to teach your children to respect themselves and others is to offer respect to them yourself.
4. Have a family activity once a week
It can be anything: cleaning up the yard, going to the movies, reading a book together, watching old family videos, or doing something for someone else. You can even try activities that different members of the family like to do. Family activities give you the chance to try new things and share experiences.
5. Let your children witness often how much you love and respect their mom or dad.
The best ways to improve family life always start with you. Children are aware of the emotional atmosphere in their home. When that atmosphere is filled with love and respect between adults, children feel safe and they have a positive model for how they can treat others as they grow up. Children learn a lot about how to be a spouse and a parent from the way their parents treat each other.
6. Know what to say when your children are upset.
When one of your children comes to you dissatisfied with their current life experience, rather than sympathizing with them, and talking about what they don’t want—which will only help them create more of it—acknowledge their discomfort and then say to them, “Why are you creating this? If you could have it the way you want it, what would that look like?” Help them become aware that they, with God, are the creators of their lives.
7. Take car trips together.
Everybody is together a lot on a car trip. Going places together while learning to be kind and respectful in close quarters is a good experience for every family member—especially parents, sometimes. Use the time on the road as an opportunity to have fun and get to know your family better.
8. Most of the time when you vacation, go only with your family.
When you spend this extended family time together, your children will be focused on each other and their friendships can grow. Vacations provide shared childhood experiences that can create cherished bonds between siblings. If you want to improve family life later, you need to start now.
9. Never use demeaning or derogatory language or voice tones with each other.
Hostile humor uses negativity to get a laugh. It is really shame with laughter. If someone is using a negative voice tone, politely say, “Please change your tone.” By avoiding hostile humor, each member of your family will know that they are supported by their family and don’t have to worry about being mocked or shamed at home.
10. Hug your children every day.
Better yet, tuck them in bed, no matter what age they are. Your daily gestures of kindness and attention are important, informal ways to improve family life. And as the years go by, they will matter more than you realize now.
Is your family already doing some of these things? Which ideas do you like the best? I would love to hear how you have improved your family life—or plan to. Please share your thoughts in a comment.
If you liked these tips, you can find more support in living your truth and remembering your wholeness by reading my book, Remembering Wholeness.