By FAITH FOO and JEREMY LIM
Family bonding is essential in today’s modern society. In this day and age, parents often work long hours, and children are involved in a plethora of academic, co-curricular and social activities. Home, ideally, ought to be the place where we feel loved, cherished and safe.
Home should be the place we long to return to, where our support system dwells, and not be the place we want to run far away from. Therefore, creating strong bonds is pivotal, if one seeks to safeguard a happy and healthy family.
Wondering how to make time with your family more meaningful?
Here are nine simple but ingenious ways to inspire you.
1. Have a meal together every week. No electronic gadgets allowed
Tip: Eat-out or cook together or even take turns planning a menu. Include everyone in meal planning whether it means picking a dish or choosing a restaurant. Meals are most people’s favourite time of the day, so make the most of it!
2. Be thoughtful. Show them you care about the little things
Tip: Everyone has things he or she loves or is particular about. While you can’t do them all, you can pick a couple for each member of the family. Does Dad like breakfast in bed? Does it make Mum happy when you help with the dishes? Does your sibling enjoy it when you make time to play a video game with them?
3. Plan an outing for the entire family
Tip: Play games TOGETHER. Charades anybody? Create a family “bucket list” and try to tick them off together. Everyone had a rough day? Pop in a movie or head to the cinema!
4. Express appreciation towards each other with gifts and little notes
Tip: Be CREATIVE. It doesn’t have to be a fancy card or a huge gift. A post-it note on their textbook or handbag with a joke or uplifting sentiment will put a smile on their face. Cute trinkets, HOMEMADE treats or good old chocolate never fails to liven up someone’s day.
5. Whisper the three important words, “I Love You”
Tip: Make it fun by using a FOREIGN language like Hokkien “Wa Ai Lu” or Japanese “Aishiteru.”
6. Hug it out
Tip: Sometimes a gentle squeeze of the arm, pat on the back or firm hug can say so much more than words can ever strive to do. So, SQUEEZE one another real tight!
7. Be spontaneous
Tip: Go for a late night car ride and share what’s going on in each other’s life. Grab some ice-cream or supper! Pack some HOT chocolate in spill-proof cups and go for a spin or even just a walk around the neighbourhood!
A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
—George Bernard Shaw