Family is the universal human anchor. We tend to build our lives around our family–marriages, kids, grandkids. For many people, one of their most precious goals is to continue the human race with some little humans all their own, and if that’s you–then you know how tough and wonderful a family can be. Not every family gets to be nuclear. Not every family has to look the same. No matter what “family” means to you, it’s worth celebrating. Here are four ways to strengthen and celebrate your family.
If you’re looking for ways to invest in family, your first stop should be the dinner table. Let’s take a look at who family dinners affect. Kids: studies have found a link between academic performance and family dinners, and teenagers who eat regularly with their families are likely to have better mental health than those who don’t. Parents: stay-at-home parents who eat with their family tend to be happier and less stressed, and working parents experience the same benefit. Family dinners are a way for everyone to communicate, relax, and enjoy some social bonding. It’s the simplest way to help your kids feel like they’re part of something bigger.
If you’re married, one of the best things you can do for your family is take care of your marriage. Many common family dysfunctions, like hyper-critical or emotionally enmeshed parenting, often stem from a lack of marital satisfaction. In other words, if you’re in a marriage relationship, you owe it to your kids (and you!) to work on your marriage! If you’re single, widowed, or divorced, make sure you’re still getting regular emotional support from friends so your kids don’t have to bear that burden, too.
One of the best ways to make your kids feel loved is to fill the house with family photos. Photos of family vacations, family gatherings, or your kids as newborns will help foster feelings of belonging and affection. Canvas prints are a great way to lend an air of permanence to this way of honoring your family.
Last but not least, have adventures as a family. The more you can head out on vacation or do activities together, the more your family will bond. Kids feel loved when their parents hang out with them, and we develop relationships with the people we spend time with. Take time to get everyone together, and take time to hang out individually with each member of your family as well.
Whether it’s elegant portraits on simple canvas prints or a vacation to China, there are many worthwhile ways of investing in family. As you strengthen that familial bond, you’ll be creating a better life for you, your kids, and your collective future.