Prayer To Strengthen Family Bonds
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Team
November 2, 2015 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Having a happy, healthy, engaged workforce goes far beyond providing free food, gym memberships and a ping-pong table.
While those perks are sure to be appreciated by employees, they don’t do much in the way of motivating or retaining them. What it really comes down to is the employee-employer relationship.
New data released earlier this year by Virgin Pulse revealed exactly what employees need to love their job — and a large part of that is a good relationship with their employer.
In fact, nearly 60 percent of the more than 1,000 full-time employees surveyed said their relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work, and 44 percent said it positively impacts their stress levels.
Considering nearly 50 percent of the 7,200 adults surveyed in a recent Gallup study left a job “to get away from their manager,” it’s time to reevaluate the employee-employer relationship.
Here is what makes for a good relationship between employers and their employees.
1. Open communication
The key to any good relationship is communication that goes both ways. Unfortunately, employees don’t feel their bosses are really listening. A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees by 15Five showed a mere 15 percent of employees are satisfied with the quality of workplace communication.
What’s more, that same study found that 81 percent of employees would rather join a company that values “open communication” than one that offers great perks.
To create a work environment that supports open communication, consider implementing a web-based feedback platform. According to the survey by 15Five, 70 percent of employees said they’d be more ly to share information with managers if they could enter comments into an online feedback system.
Related: How to Get Employees to Stick Around
2. Guidance and support
A leader can’t lead without providing direction. To build a stronger relationship with employees, employers must provide them with the necessary guidance and support to achieve their work goals. Employers need to have an idea of what those goals are to do that.
Yet, the aforementioned Gallup study showed that only 12 percent of employees “strongly agree” that their manager helps them set work priorities, and only 13 percent agree that their manager helps them set performance goals.
Give employees the help they need. Meet with them regularly to discuss their goals for the quarter and set priorities. This will better align them with the goals of the company.
3. Opportunities and investments
Ideally, both parties bring something to, and get something , the relationship. For employers, the benefits of a good employee-employer relationship include a workforce that is highly engaged, productive and satisfied in their role within the organization. An effective and efficient workforce is good for business.
For employees, the advantages of the relationship should go beyond the paycheck and benefits package to include individualized training.
Send employees to professional development events or invite leaders within the industry to speak during a monthly lunch-and-learn. Just be sure to provide them with opportunities to grow and improve. After all, investing in employees ensures they’ll invest in the company.
Related: The Harsh Truth: Your Employees Don't Care About Your Business the Way You Do
4. Gratitude and appreciation
It’s in our nature to want to be praised for a job well done — a result of receiving “gold stars” during our schoolyard days, no doubt. It reassures, motivates and gives us the fuel we need to continue doing what we do well.
In fact, Globoforce and SHRM’s 2015 Employee Recognition Report showed 86 percent of the 823 HR professionals surveyed said values-based recognition increased employee happiness at work, so don’t hold back on the “thank you” notes and pats. Employees will appreciate the recognition, and the employee-employer relationship will get a much-needed boost.
5. Interest in life outside of work
The employee-employer relationship should be professional, but that doesn’t mean employers shouldn’t take the time to get to know the person behind the work. Strive to treat employees as people, not just worker bees. The key is to take an interest in employees’ lives outside of work.
What are employees’ personal and professional goals? Where do they hope to be in five years? Do they have a family? What do they to do once the workday is over?
Questions these help employers to know their employees on a more personal level. That helps them make sense of individual employee actions and preferences, and forms a much stronger bond between employers and their employees.
Related: 9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit
How to Strengthen Family Bonds
Family is the foundation that keeps you rooted in who you truly are. But as with anything, in order to keep your family ties strong, you have to work at it.
Make time on a regular basis to enjoy your family, to laugh with them, and have in-depth conversations. Maybe set up a family game night or have a weekly dinner.
Spending quality time with your loved ones is a great way to strengthen family bonds.
You’ve heard the term “Life Is Short” , and it’s true. Tomorrow isn’t promised, which is why it’s important to show your family appreciation. Send a thank you card, or buy them a special gift. And most importantly, apologize when you're wrong. Simply saying “ I’m sorry” can strengthen family bonds.
Time is precious, and once it's gone, you can't get it back. So you should live in the moment with your family, and create beautiful memories with them. Start family traditions that will last for generations. Take a yearly summer vacations or have a game night once a month. Bonding with your loved ones helps you to appreciate one another, and treasure your time together.
4. «We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.»
No family is perfect. But that doesn’t mean you give up on each other. Your family should be the people you count on the most. You should also practice encouraging one another. If you can’t go to your loved ones for help or inspiration, who can you go to? But, make sure you provide a listening ear to your relatives and be supportive of their dreams and ambitions as well.
5. «A happy family is heaven on Earth.»
When you and your family are on good terms, it’s incredible. However, when you face the difficulties of the world, nothing feels better than to have the love of your family. Your loved ones should be your safe haven, and you should be the same for them in return.
Life can be hard, so families should stick together and be there for each other. Call your mom, sister, brother, and anyone else you love, and ask how they’re doing. Talk to them about what’s truly going on in their lives.
Open communication helps to strengthen family bonds, and keep you connected to the one’s you love.
6. «Other things change, but we start and end with family.»
Family is forever, and no matter how far you go, they will always be a part of you. If when you grow older and move away, your family’s house will feel home no matter what. Life gets hectic, and you might find it hard to visit your relatives often.
But even if you can’t be in their presence physically, technology can bring you together. Make Skype dates with the ones you love, and keep them involved with your life.
Post throwback photos on social media to let them know how much you miss them, so your family ties stay strong.
7. «Family. A unit of people who love and support each other through good times and bad.»
Let's face it. There will be good and bad times, and you can’t predict what the future holds. You might have to go down some rough roads together. But that’s what family is. It’s strength. It’s love. It’s unity.
When you see a loved one suffering, be the helping hand they need. If you have something to give, share it. Invite them over for dinner or offer to pay for movie night.
If you see a family member down, help bring them up because it can strengthen family bonds.
8. «A family doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be united!»
Every family has flaws, but that doesn’t mean there should be brokenness within the unit.
In fact, you shouldn’t expect perfection from your family, because eventually, they will disappoint you; whether it's intentional or not. This means you should forgive.
Everything doesn’t have to turn into a fight, and you don't always have to say the last word. It’s hard, but practicing temperance with your loved ones is how to strengthen family bonds.
9. «Family is anyone who loves you unconditionally.»
Your family isn’t always defined as people you share DNA with. In fact, some family ties are stronger between friends that blood relatives.
If you have people in your life who you can count on, who you can talk to and laugh with; they’re your family. So, don’t feel bad if you don't have a good relationship with your relatives, or if you don’t know them.
When you’re surrounded by love, that’s all the family you need. Tell your friends how much you appreciate them being in your life.
10. «Together is my favorite place to be.»
Being around family just feels good. Sitting around and laughing about the good ole days is the perfect way to strengthen family bonds.
Go out bowling or take a bike ride together; do whatever you can to spend quality time with your family. There’s nothing better than enjoying life with the people closest to you.
Your relatives share your name, your looks, and your history; that type of love and connection can never be broken.
7 Sure Fire Ways to Strengthen Family Bonds
Family time is sacred. But it doesn’t have to be scarce.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of modern day living, family time all too frequently takes a backseat in the face of other, often more trivial day-to-day activities.
But strengthening family bonds doesn’t have to mean “down tools” and hastily taking a family trip or vacation (though if this blog has inspired you to do just that, go easy on the haste. You want to strengthen rather then warp family relations). There are many small changes you can make to help build and strengthen family bonds from the comfort of your own home, day-in, day-out.
But if, me, time is limited, then don’t worry. You can easily strengthen family bonds and grow closer together with these seven routines. These activities are easy to incorporate into your daily routines and can be adjusted to fit the needs of your family. And you don’t need to practice them all to see results. Go ahead, give them a whirl!
1. Find simple things
It’s not easy to find time to spend together as a family, but you can create routines that help. Look at your schedule and find time to add simple rituals for when you’re together.
- Enjoy jokes and tell stories at dinner.
- For our budding vocalists, sing a song or hum a tune together.
- If you enjoy books, read together as a family.
- And depending on your beliefs, say a prayer or share a poem together before bed.
2. Enjoy breakfast
Mornings can be a hectic times as everyone scrambles to get ready for school or work. But breakfast is an easy opportunity to eat together.
- It may be tempting to let everyone grab a quick breakfast and rush out the door, but you’re missing the chance to spend time together as a family and create a simple routine.
- Breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated. Prepare easy items such as smoothies or cereal the night before so when you family wakes, you can encourage them to eat together.
You may have to adjust your family’s morning schedule a little for this routine, but you’ll be creating quality time together which will put you in a sound state of mind for the day ahead.
3. Send lunch box notes
Just because breakfast is over doesn’t mean the family bonding has to stop. Simple rituals such as lunch box notes for every member of the family can help you bond.
- Children and adults a will enjoy receiving notes in their lunches. Use small note cards or sticky notes and write an encouraging message. You can also draw pictures or include jokes.
- Vary it up. Have different family members write notes for one another. And don’t do it every day! Alternate the days of the week you post notes to help keep things fresh.
Lunch box notes can become a family tradition that lasts for years. And as your kids grow older, you could replace notes with text messages or even emails (though it’s not quite the same).
4. Do chores together
But chores are a necessary (if sometimes tedious) part of everyday life.
And when everyone pulls their weight, chores feel that little bit easier, even fun! And they are a great excuse to bring the family together. You can work as a team on one task (e.g.
raking leaves) or tackle a mini-project (e.g. cleaning out the garage). When working on a project, give everyone different responsibilities.
For more on chores, read our blog: Changing the Dialogue on Chores.
5. Create a secret family handshake
Invent a special handshake that only you and your family knows. The dafter the better! Do it at home and, if you’re really brave, at opportune moments out and about too! You can even modify your secret family handshake from week to week. Whoever forgets it has to do a forfeit! You’ll strengthen bonds with your loved ones each and every time you use it together.
6. Have a family dinner
Try to make time for a family dinner together at least once a week. You can make it even more special by using the fancy china! And for those families who struggle to get everyone together in the busy working week, make time for a family dinner at weekends.
7. Make family nights special
If you don’t have a family night, make one up! You can vary the type or theme of your family night from week to week or even day to day!
- Have a movie night. Just remember to have the popcorn and candy at the ready to make the evening extra special. You can even rearrange the furniture for that movie theatre feel!
- Have a takeaway night (though maybe not every week). Let members of the family take it in turn to choose what you’ll be eating and be sure to sit together and eat as a family.
- Have a games night. Games are a simple way to reconnect with your loved ones, and they can fill an entire evening with laughter. Very it up from week to week.
This one is more project than routine but we thought we’d share it for good measure.
Arts and craft, model building, even train sets! All make fantastic mini-projects you can work on as a family. Remember to get everyone involved with different tasks and responsibilities. And you can have members of the family take it in turn to choose what you’ll be creating! Once done, you’ll have something tangible to remind you of all your hard efforts.
Help your family bond by creating simple routines and rituals. These routines can quickly become family traditions and create cherished memories that last a lifetime.Do you have any great ideas for strengthening daily family bonds? Post your ideas in the comments below.
Strengthen Family Bonds
Looking for something fun to do with the family,or something to brighten your home? Here are just a few ideas for you.
One of the best ways to bring harmony to thefamily is to bring harmony to the home environment. Revitalizing your livingspace can be an excellent way to raise everyone’s mood.
Bring vibrancy back to your home with a new coatof paint. Pick out new curtains, throw pillows, paintings, and rugs. Visitthrift and second-hand stores with the family to search for bargains.
Add a touch of nature with houseplants. Plantscan serve to make one feel more grounded, solid, and connected to the earth, inaddition to simply adding another element of beauty to a room. You may alsoconsider growing flowers and vegetables in an outdoor garden.
Letting childrenhelp in the garden can create wonderful family moments and provide analternative to electronic devices. Some easy, low-maintenance plants for children to tendinclude snap peas, sunflowers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce,and pumpkins.
While you are redecorating, be sure to involvethe family to do some deep-cleaning. Lighten the load of cleaning by sharingthe labor. Everyone will feel better with a cleaner, fresher-looking livingenvironment.
Purchase a Pet
If your household is ready for a pet, a cat, dog,fish or hamster can be a great addition to the home. Keep in mind that no petis an “easy” pet, however. Even a single goldfish requires a minimum of 40 gallons ofwater to stay healthy and happy, and can live for up to ten years with propercare–so prepare for a long-term commitment if you bring a pet into the home.
Caring for a pet can be a group effort.Activities such as walking the dog together, playing with the housecat,training or buying presents for your furry little friend are great ways tospend time with family. This is in addition to all the wonderful benefits tomental health a pet can bring.Psychologist Alan Beck of Purdue University andpsychiatrist Aaron Katcher of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a studysurrounding the effects of petting a friendly dog. The results showed loweredblood pressure, slowed heart rate, regularized breathing, and relaxed muscletension.
With prolonged interaction, studies show that a beloved animal canhelp prevent children from developing anxiety disorders early in life. What aneffective way to de-stress!
Bake or Cook Together
Food is truly the way to the heart. Bakingtogether can be a fun and easy way to form a happy camaraderie with yourfamily. Put on some music, let the chit-chat flow, snack on the ingredients,and enjoy the tasty fruits of your labor when you are done.
Children can help with the baking process bymixing, measuring, and pouring ingredients. They can also help with simpletasks such as cracking eggs, kneading dough, spreading icing, starting themicrowave, and putting dishes in the dishwasher.
Collaborating together on ameal or treat can be very fulfilling for family members, especially forchildren who want to feel helpful and have fun.
Plan a Fun Day Out
There are endless activities to help familiesbond. You might consider driving away from city lights, breaking out campingchairs and a few snacks, and star-gazing. You can plan to attend a localparade, go to a local sports game or concert.
You can go out to a restaurant;eating out is almost always guaranteed to make everyone happy. You can alsoinstill community values in your family by volunteering together. You can pickup a new hobby together, such as hiking, fishing, painting, etc.
You can go tothe park and have a picnic, or you can find a good movie rental and cozy uptogether for a night of entertainment.
Start Saving For a Trip!
While spending a sizeable amount of money isdefinitely not necessary to make a family happy, it can be worthwhile to saveup for something special that no one will ever forget.
If you work hard andmanage your money wisely, you could see the Northern lights from Iceland, go ona safari in South Africa, visit a resort in Thailand, stay a few nights in afancy hotel in Tokyo, fly out to Hawaii, or even go on a european cruise.
Even if splurging on an expensive trip is not inthe book of possibilities, smaller trips such as camping, road trips, orspending the night in a nearby town can be a marvelous experience as well. Avacation of any size, as long as it is well-planned, can help to make wonderfulfamily memories as well as rejuvenate everyone’s spirits. After all, everyoneneeds a good pick-me-up now and again.
Make the Time
It can be hard to take yourself away from work, or to put aside personal time to spend with your family. Whatever you do–whether you plan a big activity, make a grand gesture, or just propose a game of cards–simply showing up and making an effort can go a long way to showing your loved ones that you care.
Image Credits: Family Bonds from mavo /Shutterstock
Using Social Media to Strengthen Family Bonds
Photo by Derek Brabender.
The attack of snowballs caught him off guard.
Father and columnist Peter McKay tells the story of his encounter with the world of Club Penguin a few years back. Describing his efforts at digitally connecting with his kids, McKay compares the site to a type of middle school social: everyone is there to hang out with his/her penguin avatar friends…but no one actually talks to each other.
Despite a rough learning curve on avatar operations, things were going well relationally. His kids seemed genuinely happy to join him online. Then McKay made the tragic mistake of launching into his parenting agenda of chores and homework right there in Club Penguin. In response, one of his supposedly loving children hurled a virtual snowball at papa penguin.
This frozen act of hostility proved to inspire surrounding penguins.
Suddenly, McKay was under a barrage attack of digital snowballs, burying papa penguin in a pile of virtual snow. To rub salt in the avatar’s emotional wounds, McKay’s offspring waddled off to another area of Club Penguin, with little regard for either their father’s plight or their homework.
Thwarted at his computer-mediated parenting efforts, McKay writes: “I won't go back any time soon. The real world may not be as exciting as Penguin Island, but at least out here if one of those little creeps lobs a snowball at me, I'm big enough to wash his face with a handful of exceedingly non-virtual snow. 1
The online world turned McKay’s existing world on its head.
It is not a secret that teens use social media to connect with their friends. However, teens also use social media to connect with adults they trust and with whom they have a positive relationship. 2 McKay hoped, this can extend to relationships within families.
For many of us adults, however, online activity with our kids can be socially disorientating. Those of us who see the relational potential of social media may discover that the reward for our efforts is a loss of parental authority.
These new digital interactions are often foreign to our own experiences when we were teens.
They also leave us wondering who we are online in relation to our kids, or why something our kids seem to enjoy so much feels it is tearing our family apart.
Thankfully, we can learn a few things from research that shed light on this new parenting world. The good news for parents is that the very digital tools that have the potential to be destructive for families can also be used instead towards building new bridges of communication and family intimacy.
Texters Feel Closer
Among participants in an LG-sponsored survey on texting, most parents who text with their teens report texting helps them feel closer to one another, and more than half of those teens report the same thing.
3 While it may seem suspicious that a corporate-sponsored study discovered a product they sell could strengthen family bonds, the same study revealed that half of both parents and teens admit to driving and texting.
So texting, while potentially helpful in bringing families closer together, also has a dangerous dark side.
Families Who Play Together…
Beyond texting, using the Internet to communicate or play online games with family and friends increases social capital among users (“social capital” is the strength of human connections that contributes to a personal sense of wellbeing).
The benefit seems to lie in doing something together, even if the activity itself seems somewhat pointless to us as parents. 4 Playing together creates opportunities for positive family experiences. Of course, playing any game together would be great; participating in online social gaming merely is about joining them in what many are already doing.
Positive experiences this are an important ingredient in developing a growing sense of personal wellbeing. 5
We All to be Heard
As an added bonus, people want to share their good experiences with others, and social media provides that platform. Though individuals enjoy sharing their thoughts and experiences whether the audience is real or implied, knowing someone is paying attention makes sharing more personally valuable. 6 At first glance, this finding appears to make social media incredibly narcissistic.
In that line of thinking, a team of researchers conducted a study on users. They predicted that individuals with the greatest desire to shape public perceptions would self-disclose the most often. 7 Surprisingly, it turns out that the more a person desires to control appearances the less ly they are to participate on .
Most social media allows others to comment on, post about or tag a picture of a user. Realistically, it is far easier to avoid these sites than to control others’ actions.Consequently, the value of many social media platforms is not in controlling a self-projected image but sharing within the context of close personal relationships.
In other words, sharing through social media is mostly about being heard by our friends.
Teens Need Our Support
Adolescents use social media to get advice and support from adults they know, respect and who are willing to engage online with them.
8 Because the majority of digital conversations focus on experiences of everyday life, it is inherently personal. 9 In large part because of this, teens view their digital connections as lifelines to their support structure.
10 As parents, we will want to be a part of that online support structure for our teenagers.
Writers versus Talkers
Using social media to strengthen family relationships is not so much a matter of adopting a series of steps, as it is a reframing of perspective.
For example, some people prefer written styles of interpersonal communication, while others prefer a verbal communication style.
11 Knowing one’s own preference of communication, perception or use of the Internet helps to understand and identify others’ preferences.
For example, say you take a silly family picture with a movie cutout. If it’s okay with your kids, tag them and digitally share the moment. The verbal communicators in the family already have a moment to share their fun comments, the writers can add their thoughts from their phones or when they get home.
It may surprise you how the writers in the family recreate that experience and use it in other ways. My kids took some of those posted pictures to create a fun and memorable Father’s Day card.
It was awesome! By taking a brief moment to transfer a bit of our everyday lives into a format that writers can participate in, both communication types have a greater opportunity to help create family memories.
From Information to Relationship
When it comes to communication, adolescents are the most ly group to experience the Internet as a relational tool, 12 and chronology may be to blame for this.
Early in the new millennium the creation of an Internet social platform reframed it from a web of interconnected documents to a web of interconnected people.
13 Consequently, a person’s perspective on the Internet’s social-ability may reveal more about when they adopted it than how old they are.Here is how this plays out. As recent as five years ago, only about a third of people age 65 and older used the Internet; it was not until 2012 that the number crept above fifty percent.
14 Of course, baby boomers are part of the increase; however, teens, any digital newcomers in this group would be experiencing these tools primarily as relational ones.
To them, the Internet and other digital tools were created to connect with their friends and grandkids, and before we know it, grandma has exceeded her texting limits.
Coming Alongside our Kids Online
Up until the latter half of the nineteenth century, communication between generations was more ly to consider the developmental and conceptual understanding of the child, and that responsibility was on the parent. 15 Also historically, children learned alongside adults.
It is increasingly less obvious in our culture how young people are supposed to learn the skills necessary to engage in adult society. In contemporary culture, it seems that it is the young people themselves who are expected to be the initiators and developers of those skills.
For the most part teens are learning how to use social media within their friendship structure as they navigate the digital landscape. 17 Consequently, they are developing relational patterns in isolation from the broader society. To bridge that growing divide, we will need to provide context, training and tools for teens to interpret messages from the adult sphere.
Have you ever told a funny story at home and your kid mutters “lol” instead of laughing? Participating with our teens online helps us know that lol has meaning. It communicates to someone not physically present that you laughed, demonstrating how we interpreted his or her message.
If that group of friends continues to use that same form of communication, despite being physically present to each other, they have developed a pattern of socialization apart from the broader society. They now narrate their own laughs. This is something I observed among teens during my research.
Teens may need coaching to learn appropriate cultural behavior and understand messages coming from adults. This is not something teens have lost; it is something they are developing on their own. To bridge this we have to start where the teens actually are, not where we think they should be.
Simultaneously, we need to listen carefully to what our teens are saying online. Adults who do not listen but instead push their own agenda frustrate teens.18 In order to build a social capital bridge to the next generation, we will need to put our social power positions at risk. 19 This may mean being open to learning about social media from our children.
It might mean risking personal competence by digitally going where it feels no parent has had to go before.
McKay was willing to go digitally where his kids were, but he wanted to use the space for something it was not created for.
Had he stayed and allowed Club Penguin to be what his kids used it for (most ly as a place to hang out with friends, play games and showcase their personal igloo) he would have eventually learned how to do what kids do there.
More importantly, he would have given his own kids an opportunity to show their dad what they can do or have created on the site.
He would have truly found another dimension for connecting with his kids and an opportunity to deepen his relationship with them.
Ultimately, this is the potential power digital tools have to strengthen family connections. They provide us with additional opportunities to play with and listen to our kids, helping us to feel closer to them as we guide them toward adulthood.
Ask your teen to show you how to do something online. Just talking about how to use the Internet better can facilitate relationship building. 20
If your teens are social gamers, join them online in a game of their choice.
Find a recent post by your teen to which you can give a digital thumbs-up. During your next meal together, invite your teen to tell you about their post. Then share how their post impacted you.
Do a digital inventory on your own social media usage, noting with whom you spend the most time interacting online. How are you living present with your teens both online and off?