A famous writer once said that happy families are all alike, but this isn’t always true. Different families have different needs, and what constitutes an improvement in one situation might not be in another. Keeping in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all path to making your family life better, the suggestions below can help you with improvement.
Find Your Version of Eating Together
One of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice about how to bring families closer together is that everyone should have dinner together most nights. This isn’t a terrible recommendation, but it can feel that way for situations where such a thing just is not practical. Maybe one parent does shift work or a child has a part-time job or important extracurricular activity that interferes. There’s nothing magical about the evening meal; it’s simply that it provides a routine way for everyone to connect on a regular basis. If what works better for your family is a regular Saturday morning bike ride or a Tuesday evening game night, don’t beat yourself up because you’re not managing to get everyone to the same dinner table at 7 p.m. on a regular basis.
Install a Home Lift
If you live in a house with multiple floors, have you considered installing a home lift? Most people haven’t simply because they may consider the price too exorbitant or the lift too impractical. However, these can actually be installed in most types of homes. How do they improve your family life? If you have older adults visiting or living with you, they might have mobility issues, and a lift can make going up and downstairs much easier. If you have an infant or toddlers, it’s much easier and safer to go up and down carrying them in a lift instead of on the stairs. You can read more about your options to help choose the home lift for you that meets your needs.
Make One-on-One Time Matter
Doing things together as a group is important, but so is strengthening individual relationships. This will vary depending on the particular configuration of your family, but in general, try to ensure that everyone has one-on-one time together. This is not necessarily something that needs to be strictly scheduled. It’s more a situation of keeping the lines of communication open between individuals, having a quick chat or doing something fun together as the opportunity arises.
If you’re a parent, those moments when you realize how thoroughly your child is their own person can be both exhilarating and shocking. You probably had some very definite ideas about what your child might be like before you had them, and the reality rarely lines up with what you imagined. Learning to accept that your kid may not see the world the same way you do, and that they may also be very different from their siblings, is not just important for your own relationship with them. You can model this acceptance for other family members. Letting go of notions about who you all ought to be and meeting one another where you actually are can bring you together in profoundly meaningful ways.