“Creating a warm, caring, supportive, encouraging environment is probably the most important thing you can do for your family.” - Stephen R. Convey
National Families Week in Australia is all about celebrating the meaning of family and making the most of family life. From May 15th – 20th, the week gives importance to the vital role families play in Australian society and the critical role they play in teaching, supporting, and nurturing children while growing up. True that sometimes family life can be challenging because of personality clashes and so on but it remains valuable by large and the best place where, well, you can be yourself!
The importance of our families comes to light especially during tough times like one we are facing today. Some of us are away from our families, some who have been away for a very long time may have planned to meet during holidays and some of the fortunate ones are with their families. Either way, we realize their significance and strength.
The theme of Families Week continues to be ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities’ and according to the Families Australia (nfw.org.au) official website, this theme, “continues to highlight the important role families play as the central building block of our communities and deliver the message that community wellbeing is enhanced by family wellbeing.”
This said, taking care of our family’s wellbeing is crucial especially during these testing times. If each family takes the initiative to lead a healthy and happy life, it can contribute to the community as a whole. As Al Smith quotes, “You take care of you and your family first. Then you go to your neighbourhood, and then you spread it on out within the community.”
Start incorporating this idea and engage in some great activities with your family at home for a stronger and sustainable bonding!
Cooking, Gardening and Games!
Cooking and dining together some fantastic and healthy meals is a great way to bring family members closer. Research says that family meals promote healthier eating and parents to be good role models for the same. Mealtimes is also an opportunity to talk, listen, and build family relationships besides laying a groundwork for kids to give family life priority when they grow up.
Some wonderful cookbooks that help in this bonding include Family which illustrates recipes passed on through generations or food rituals from daily cooking. Another similar book is At My Table: Vegetarian Meals for Family and Friends which makes the most of a simple gathering.
In addition to the meals, setting the mood right during mealtime is as important as well. Along with the food, your table setting can improve the mealtime mood. You can humor it up with some funny one-liner non-toxic soy-based candles from Damselfly like My Hand is Stuck in a Jar of Salsa, Time to Wine Down or Let the Good Times Roll and top it up with witty cotton tea towels such as Hangry Tea Towel, Thanks for all the lovely meals or Do One Thing That Scares Your Family Tea Towel. Eat, talk, and laugh out loud!
Just like cooking, gardening is also another activity that can be done by the family together for there is no better satisfaction than growing your own food for your family! The planning, sowing and tending a family garden offers physical activity with a purpose shared by everyone which not only reinforces the family bond but also helps educate kids with responsibility giving them a sense of accomplishment. Gardening also fosters an important life skill of patience. In today’s fast paced world we have everything at the tip of our fingertips with Google with all the answers to our questions. However with gardening whether we are young or old we learn that waiting to enjoy the fruits of our labour gives us a better and bigger gratification. Besides what better way to teach the kids about nature and it's magic!
Books such as My Tiny Home Farm: Simple Ideas for Small Spaces , The New Plant Parent and Kitchen Garden Companion: Growing gives deep insight and tips on how to grow your family garden in a simplified and fun way!
Physical activities aside, try engaging in some amusing and lively mental activities with your family. True that television, mobile phones, video games, or laptops, have their benefits, but it does not help families build strong relationships more solidly. Yes, there are those Whatsapp family groups but are all members equally active? And isn’t watching your favourite TV show more passive and less interactive?
With all these factors, nothing feels better than playing games that act as an effective ice breaker and a conversation starter bringing the whole family together with laughter and fun. While it brings nostalgia and childhood memories for the adults, it poses as an excellent learning tool for the kids developing concentration skills and increasing problem-solving skills. Some awesome games you can indulge with your family are the After Dinner Amusements such as Family Time, Charades, Travel Trivia, Name That Word, or Do You Remember? Other games include Ridley’s’ General Knowledge Quiz, Pop Culture Trivia Quiz, or the old fashioned Pick up Sticks. And Llamanoes, Best of the 90s the Trivia Game, from Hardie Grant Books are some more interesting picks. So, reconnect and enjoy these games and enhance positive family communication!