photo of happy family

Family life can be harmonious, but it’s rare. In most families, there’s significant conflict, often buried under the surface.

The good news is that there are many ways you can improve your relationships with your spouse and kids proven by science. Here’s what you need to do. 

Share The Load

Don’t try to do all the parenting yourself. Make sure that you share the load with your partner and other people in your community. 

Remember, you can’t be a parent and a worker at the same time without there being some compromises (usually your health). That’s why it’s a good idea to work with au pair agencies and get around-the-clock support.

Once you have someone taking care of all the basics for you, it helps to free up your time and reduce stress. An extra pair of hands can do the dishes, wash the clothes and get children ready for school in the morning. 

Make Sure You Eat Together Every Day

Families that don’t eat together run into trouble quickly. Family meals are an essential part of bonding and help draw people together. Studies show that parents who eat with their children are much likelier to be close emotionally and have better health. Members are also considerably less likely to develop depression and adopt healthier eating patterns.

Moreover, spending time together as a family helps to turn the experience into a ritual. If the family has certain things that it does, it builds a group identity, making people feel like an integral part of the social group and not outsiders. 

You don’t have to eat together every day of the week (and you certainly don’t need to force things). But it is a good idea to eat together at least three or four times. 

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Show Support To Each Other Daily

Life is tough for everyone, including people who apparently have it all. But fortunately, families are there to help. Parents and children can show support to each other to get through tough times.

Unfortunately, many family members neglect to show enough support to others. And that can lead to feelings of isolation and conflict. 

The trick here is to keep gestures flowing that you love and care for your family. You want to be the glue that holds everyone together and prevents things from falling apart. 

Make sure you appreciate all the little things that happen in your family life. You can connect with other people via the small things in life.

Be More Involved

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No matter what you’re doing, you’ll also want to be more involved in your family’s life. The more you can get stuck into what your kids and partner are doing, the more connected you will feel. 

Here’s some advice: 

  • Be sincere in your conversations, instead of letting cynicism and sarcasm slip in
  • Avoid being directly confrontational unless someone has done something ethically wrong
  • Make gestures to bring family members close to you
  • Give people gifts from time to time to show that you care
  • Make sure that everyone in the family feels valued and appreciated for who they are
  • Celebrate the contributions made by each family member
  • Ask people how they are doing
  • Be proactive and genuinely engage with people
  • Listen carefully to what others are saying

If you abide by all this advice, you should notice a fairly rapid improvement in family relationships. The more you can make other people feel seen, the better your experience will be. 

Spend Time With Each Family Member One-On-One

Spending time together as a group is a great idea for families. But if you really want to make people feel special, you need to allocate quality, one-on-one time with them. Otherwise, you are constantly talking to them through the filter of other people. 

You don’t have to schedule these one-on-one sessions or put them in your diary like a meeting. Just take the opportunity when it arises to interact with family members and get to know them better. The closer you can be on an individual level, the better your family life will become. 

Spend Time Together

Lastly, make sure you spend quality time with family members. Do things together that your family enjoys. Ensure that you’re fully present with each other, not thinking about other things. 

Ways to spend time together include solving puzzles, going out for ice cream, taking a hike or enjoying family story time. What’s important is that you and other family members engage fully with what’s going on. You shouldn’t be thinking about other things, like work.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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