Family dynamics are complicated. Busy schedules, differing interests and generational gaps can make it difficult to connect with each other. Instead of avoiding each other in the house, gather everyone up and go on a group outing to see some changes in how your family functions.
Today's fast-paced world often results in a profound lack of patience in families. People expect things on an instantaneous basis, because their electronic devices provide this. Consider an outing to a slower-paced place, such as a park system or a nature center. Spending time in the great outdoors allows everybody in your family to realize that nature moves at its own place. Take the time to appreciate how a river cuts through the bedrock to create a valley over thousands of years. Consider how a tall tree reached its height after growing for decades or even hundreds of years, such as in the case of California redwood trees. Watch as a bumblebee methodically visits every flower to gather nectar for the hive.
A group outing can also improve your family's communications skills. Try a visit to a mystery dinner theater or a planetarium where each person can ponder the mysteries of the universe. Ask questions out loud and see what your partner and children think. Try to guess who the villain in the theater is, or make a guess on how many Earth-like planets there might be in the Milky Way galaxy. If you are used to texting each other from across the house instead of speaking face to face, spending time together outside of the house and actually engaging in meaningful conversations can renew your family's sense of togetherness. The improved communication can continue at home by talking about what you did and saw and what you would like to do together on your next family outing.
Appreciation of Each Person's Skills
A visit to a family fun center allows you to develop a deeper appreciation for each family member's unique abilities and skills. Your kids might not have realized that you were quite the ski ball champion in your younger years. Teenagers may appreciate your fast moves in a thrilling game of laser tag. Kids can challenge each other in climbing structures and video games. You could each play the same game in succession and see who is able to achieve the highest score. Seeing each person's skills and strength in a setting such as a family fun center removes some of the pressure and familiarity of home.
Consider a visit to a challenging place such as a rock climbing wall, outdoor obstacle course or paintball facility as a way of building some teamwork in your family. If you find that at home, it is everyone for himself or herself, it is time to work on things as a team. An outing to a place where you have to learn how to work together to solve a problem or reach a goal allows everybody to see that it can be done. You can take your success on the outing and use it to build upon more teamwork successes at home. This type of an outing will also show your kids how working together helps each person to feel a sense of belonging and contribution. Without each person's input, the goal could not have been reached.
A group outing can renew your family's bonds. The outing does not have to be expensive or fancy. Each of these ideas, from getting outside to having fun indoors at a family center, offers something new to do. Your family may improve its communication, togetherness and patience as a result.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter @RachelleWilber