ʻDuring bonding time, turn all phones and devices off and focus solely on listening and one-on-one connectionʼ
> are often away from home. This regular getting together allows time to have fun and connect, even when life is busy.
During bonding time, turn all phones and devices off and focus solely on listening and one-on-one connection. Create a vision board together of enjoyable activities: bike riding, fishing, playing card games, cooking a new meal, learning to play chess, completing a project, visiting a museum or eating out at a restaurant together. Then each week you can turn to your vision board and choose an activity to try.
Yearly Rhythms - Some of the most memorable family times happen in yearly rhythms, including birthdays and festivals like Christmas, Easter,
Hanukkah, Diwali and Ramadan, as well as holidays or seasonal outings. Family traditions for particular times of year form childhood memories and often get passed along from one generation to the next.
In my opinion, yearly festivals of all religions have their roots in LOVE. They provide a time to join as families, to share special meals, connect and bring magic to family life. Children become more involved in the festival preparation during middle childhood as they begin to take on greater responsibility.
Let’s Be Realistic - Family rhythms are not immune to arguments, tears, frustrations, and the occasional angry word by either parent or child. But the happy times often outweigh these moments. Let’s choose fun daily, weekly and yearly activities that are manageable and enjoyable for all, and not stressful.
Rhythms do not mean rigidity. They change over time as children grow older and new interests or life circumstances arise. Sometimes plans have to change - that’s life.
Spontaneity is important in family life too! Only a couple of rhythms are required, then you can go with the flow on other days.
The Glue that Binds - Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly rhythms provide the glue that binds family members together. Families that maintain some daily and weekly rhythms are more likely to stay connected. Rhythmical activities are anchored within children during the middle years, and so as children move into the teenage years, they may still participate in a few key family activities while seeking greater independence. Introducing and maintaining just one simple, fun and predictable family weekly rhythm makes all the difference for sustained connection in the long term.
MORE INSPIRATION READ Growing Children, Thriving Children: Raising Seven to 12 Year Olds with Confidence and Awareness by Lou Harvey-Zahra (Floris Books £14.99) REVIEW suitable content at commonsensemedia.org
TRY IT AT HOME • Which activities create family happiness for everyone – nature, exercise, games, crafts, music? Make sure they are included in your weekly rhythm. • Why not try making pizza dough or pancakes this weekend? • Games night means family fun. • Weekly chores are more fun with music. • Place limited activities into a weekly time slot. • Create a vision board of activities to put into a monthly outing jar. • Include fun yearly rhythms for birthdays and other festivals. • Ask children ‘What are the activities you would like us to do together?’
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019 thegreenparent.co.uk