You may not have been very close to your parents as a kid. You might have been too close, and your parent’s “attempts to smother you” now leave you with the opinion that kids should be left to do their own thing. While parental involvement is always a balance between inspiring independence and reassuring your child of your love, it is possible to achieve that balance. The more you can raise kids who know you’re there for them, through thick and thin, the more you’ll witness healthy adults when your kids grow up. There are a few simple ways to reassure your kids that you care, and here are three of our favorite ways for doing so.
Family Dinners and Activities
Studies show that family dinners decrease stress in both mom and dad, and teens who eat dinner with their families often get better grades. A great way for everyone to join together and recap about their day, family dinners are the perfect opportunity to remind your kids: hey, you belong somewhere. It might be the only time of the day, week, or month, that you can all have a conversation at the same time, and those moments can have a lasting impact on your kids.
Similarly, engaging in fun activities that bring together the entire family can help to reinforce a sense of fun and excitement among family members, and reinforce bonds. Engaging in activities together doesn’t have to be expensive, and you often won’t even have to leave home! Invest in a shared space to “play” together, especially if your children are young. A popular option is to purchase a swing set or trampoline for the backyard, but be mindful of trampoline sizes so that everyone can spend this “play” time together!
One of the best ways you can raise healthy humans is to take those humans volunteering when they’re young. There are almost unlimited opportunities for helping others, and many of them can be done with younger kids. Studies show that kids who help others are less likely to involve themselves in at-risk behaviors. Other studies show that kids who volunteer developed self-confidence, self-esteem, and moral reasoning. When it comes to the psychological benefits volunteering can have on your kids, there’s every reason to take them out volunteering this weekend.
You probably hadn’t considered it before–but did you know that family vacations can actually make your children smarter? According to child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland, a family trip combines physical, cognitive, social, and sensory interactions all at once, improving brain development in younger children. That hike through the snow or stroll along the beach can help your child’s brain to grow. Not only that, but family vacations can act as happiness anchors for your kids. In 2015, the Family Holiday Association in Britain found that 49% of the individuals surveyed remember family vacations as their happiest memory. A quarter of those surveyed said they used those happy memories to help get them through tough times. When you go on vacation with your family, you might be providing them with a lifetime’s worth of joy. To better invest in this chance, try to plan yearly trips, or even invest in a family timeshare. (You can look at a Welk resorts review to get started!) Getting away regularly with your kids is going to have a much bigger impact than toys, so choose your budget wisely.
When it comes to family, you can give good to grow good. Like giving plants nutrients, there are multiple ways you can inspire your kids to grow into healthy adults. Plus, the better your kids feel about their relationship with you, the closer you’ll stay as a family for years to come.