In a simpler time, families did most activities together. Survival often depended on the closeness of the family unit and its ability to work together as a whole. Today most children attend school all day while both of their parents work full-time jobs. Even when school is over and the workday is done, children and parents lead busy lives filled with activities, responsibilities and social obligations. Fostering a sense of togetherness requires intentional planning to make sure that family bonds stay strong. If you are planning some family bonding time, here are a few things to think about to make the most of it.

Include the Whole Family

Not every family activity has to include everyone. There is great value in mother-daughter time or a father-son outing, but family bonding is a time for the entire family to come together. Parents should include their children in planning bonding activities, but once scheduled, these special times together should not be optional for any member of the family.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a multi-generational family, be sure to include grandparents in your plans. Doing so may make choosing an activity that is appropriate for everyone a bit more difficult, but the increase in family connection will be palpable. The older adults in your life have stories to tell and life experiences to share that will benefit the family as a whole.

Don’t forget to include the four-legged members of the family whenever possible. Pets can be valuable family members if that relationship is fostered from the beginning. In fact, learning to care for the family animals can be a great family bonding time on its own. Bath and groom your furry friends as a family. Take your dog on a long walk together. Check out ultimate pet nutrition reviews online and let the younger members of the family help choose the right food for your pet. Including the animals in your household in family bonding time will forge a connection with them that they will pay back a hundred times over, and it will foster responsibility and compassion in your children.

Make it Interactive

Watching a movie together can be fun, but it’s not necessarily the right choice for making a deeper connection to one another. Family bonding activities should foster communication and be interactive. Family game nights are a wonderful choice. Playing a board game together encourages conversation and offers opportunities for collaboration. Likewise, a family picnic or a round of miniature golf achieves those same goals. Projects and crafts can also be wonderful options. Finding time in everyone’s schedule can be difficult, don’t squander that precious time on activities that do not accomplish the important objective of bringing the family closer together.

Turn Off Electronics

Phones and computers make it possible for you to connect with the outside world, access information on command and enrich your mind. However, it is also true that digital devices are the enemy of true one-on-one connection. On dedicated bonding activities, make sure that your family’s focus is on one another and not the outside world. It is not the time for a quick phone call or text to deal with friends or work. Turn off your devices and put all your focus on each other. The rest of the world will still be out there in a few hours when you are done with your diversion.

Family bonding time is not the same thing as hanging out together. In planning your time together, always it is important to keep in mind what your main purpose is. You are not just looking for something to do. The activity is not the main focus. The most important goal of a bonding activity is to cultivate your relationship with one another, to deepen the ties that hold you to each other and to create a space where you relate to the members of your family on a richer level.