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15 Tips for Family Bonding

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

Our 9 and 12 year old kids are so busy with homework, sports activities, and their friends that I feel our family is not as close as it was when they were younger. Both my husband and I are working also, so I wonder how best to keep our family connected when everyone seems to be going in different directions.



Dear Worried,

Although your family seems to be busy with their own interests and activities and often not home, there are many ways to keep the family bond strong. Doing little things together strengthens ties with your children such as sharing a meal or chauffeuring them. Below are some examples for creating bonding time.


1. Whenever possible, eat meals together, especially dinner. Keep the TV off and do not answer the phone while dining.

2. Help them with homework (or review homework schedules).

3. Attend their sports event or activity (give positive feedback no matter the outcome).

4. Play card or board games of their choosing.

5. Watch a TV program that your kids like.

6. Have a family night out and go to a movie, concert, or play.

7. Exercise together (biking, swimming, tennis, hiking).

8. Volunteer together (serving meals at homeless shelters, building homes for Habitat for Humanity).

9. Do chores together (cooking, dishes, grocery shopping, housework, gardening).

10. Drive them whenever possible and let them listen to their radio station.

11. Have bedtime talks where you just sit and listen and let your children speak.

12. Read together. If there is a book everyone wants to read (i.e. Harry Potter), each person can take turns reading aloud.

13. Share a hobby together or take an active interest in your child's hobby.

14. Go on a family vacation and let the kids get involved in the planning.

15. Every day, tell them you love them. Also, give a compliment or positive remark about something they've done.