When it comes to looking after your family you are an expert. You make sure they are all fed, have clean clothes and a warm bed to sleep in not to mention all the other things you do for them.
But what if all that physical care isn’t enough? It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day rush of work, school, sports, homework etc. – all of which are physical things that need attending to but we forget to look after each other emotionally and in the long run, it is this disconnect that will cause rifts within the family unit. A strong family unit can weather any storm but if the cracks are allowed to widen, then a major incident will be the undoing of your family.
So how do you emotionally look after a family?
Ensure that you communicate with all family members every day. Yes that can hard with teenagers but it doesn’t matter if it is one sided, they are still aware that you care and are hearing what you are saying whether or not they respond. Communication doesn’t have to be verbal, leave a note on the fridge telling each member why you love them, encourage them to do the same, don’t push it but let it become a natural part of your family.
Turn the TV off and eat dinner together at the dining table. This is the one time each day that you can all communicate. It may seem awkward at first but persevere as it will get easier with time. Rather than staring at each other with nothing to say, make it the time that your family must come together and share what they are grateful for from their day. Not only does it mean you are communicating with each other but it allows each member to focus on the good points in their day.
Have a board games night
Instigate a board game night from early on and don’t back down on it as the kids get older. One night when everyone must turn off phones, computers, tv etc. Of course, you need to allow for homework so sometimes the night may have to be moved around or shortened to just an hour or so but still make the effort to do it.
If you have a partner then make sure you have couples time where you can both communicate with how you are going both personally and as a family and make sure you are on the same page. Presenting a united front to your family gives you a solid base to grow from.
One on one time.
Try to spend at least one hour a week with each family member individually. Create the bonds that will last a lifetime but connecting individually. It might be as simple as taking one child to buy new shoes instead of taking the whole family. Spend that time reconnecting with that particular child.
Seek outside help.
If you feel there are issues that you cannot get to the bottom of then seek outside help. There is no shame in seeing a family counsellor, marriage counsellor or attending parenting courses or programs.
Smell the roses.
It seems simple enough when we say it but we often forget that the rushing around is actually part of the bigger scheme of life. We only get one chance at life so don’t forget to stop and just enjoy your family. Spending time just being a family is the most important way to look after your family emotionally. If you need to reduce commitments to allow this to happen to do so, nothing is more important.
Have you ever sought outside help for your family’s emotional well-being? We would love to hear about your experiences and how it helped your family.