by Jackie Bledsoe, Jr.
Do you have certain experiences from your childhood that are ingrained in your memory that you will never forget? Maybe the annual visit to a family member, the smell and taste of a food that was prepared in your house, or a funny moment that seemed to happen a lot.
Those memories and habits may have been created by activities that were done regularly in your household growing up. We’ve learned those activities have a powerful impact on how we function as individuals and family today. Once we realized this we decided to be intentional about our family activities to positively impact the relationships we have with our children and relatinships they will have in the future.
Below we compiled a list of 10 intentional family activities that our family currently does or plans to do consistently. We believe if done consistently over time these activities will help to create better relationships and stronger bonds within our family, while preparing our children for future relationships.
- Family Night (movie, game, etc.) ““ Movie Night is one of our favorites. We select a family movie that we haven’t seen yet and enjoy watching it (in the dark) with popcorn, cookies, or fruit. Sometimes we’ll pull out blankets and all lay right on the floor or couch.
- Family walks ““ We have done this pretty consistently for about 10 years. Now that our family has grown the kids ride bikes, scooters, or roller blades while we get to walk and enjoy “adult” conversation (meaning no kids asking questions!).
- Dining at home ““ This is a challenge for many families with work, school, extracurricular schedules, but I am proud to say we typically have family dinner, with all of us, at our dining room table almost every night of the week. It has been a practice for many years. We want to do the same with breakfast, but not all of us are morning people. We talk about everything: school, sports, finances, goals, and food (of course). I can’t think of a better way to fellowship and bond than doing this on a consistent basis.
- Praying ““ Most of us have heard this quote “The family that prays together stays together.” We are firm believers in this, and practice it regularly. We were inspired by a another family, where the husband sometimes had long days at work, yet they committed to praying together every single day. Some of our most intimate family moments happen while praying together.
- One-on-one time ““ Date nights, mom/daughter days, father/son days, as well as daddy/daughter and mommy/son “dates” are great things. I think Date Nights are most important because it models a great relationship for the kids and sets the standard that mom is important to and loved by dad and vice-versa.
- Annual vacations ““ This has been a tough one for us to be consistent, but we are working to be more intentional so we can do this every year. The family vacations we have gone on have been wonderful experiences and very refreshing.
- BIG celebrations for special days ““ We think birthdays should be a BIG DEAL. They only happen once per year and on that day (and sometimes the entire week) we want to make the birthday person feel extra special. It hasn’t always been the case and I am still a work in progress, but I’m doing better. See my post about Stephana’s birthday celebration.
- Volunteer for kids activities ““ I love coaching and teaching kids so this is easy for me. I also think it is in my genes because my dad coached me and my brother’s teams until we were teenagers. Coaching, teaching, or helping with your kids activities encourages them to participate and makes them feel a little better that mom and/or dad are there, and gives them someone to lean on when they don’t do as well. If you can’t volunteer then I would do my very best to be in attendance as much as possible.
- Reading and learning ““ There are so many benefits to reading and learning together it amazes me. We typically read a bed time story to our kids and this has helped to build strong reading, writing, and communication skills. We strive to be lifelong learners, not just taking classes or courses, but all the time for life. Studying new things with our kids shows it is okay if they don’t know something, but at the same gives them confidence that they are capable and skills to learn anything they desire.
- Community work ““ Two of our goals are to volunteer each year as a family on Thanksgiving to prepare or deliver meals to those in need and on Christmas to give gifts to families who are in need, instead of exchanging gifts amongst ourselves. We call it “giving a birthday gift to Jesus” (since it is His birthday after all). When our kids see that there are others who may not have even the basic necessities it gives them an appreciation of what they have and how they live. This is invaluable and we hope creates an attitude of gratitude and a desire to give.
We encourage you to be intentional about doing consistent family activities that will strengthen your bond as a family, and prepare your children to do the same in the future.
Do you do any of the activities we’ve listed? What activities can you add to our list? Please place in the comment section below.
“Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. (@jbledsoejr) & Stephana Bledsoe (@stephanabledsoe) are co-founders of SayitinShirts.com, a unique website that combines Social Media & T-shirt Marketing to connect families, family-oriented businesses, and causes. Jackie & Stephana are the proud parents of 3 children (ages 11 years and younger), whom they home school while working together to build SayitinShirts.com.”