Creating Family Connections

It takes a little effort and some thought, but the payoff for having strong family relationships is well worth it. Studies have shown that relationships with family members affect us throughout our lives. They can be of great benefit to us in all aspects of our lives, enabling us to cope with stress, create healthy attitudes and behaviors, enhance our self-esteem, and build happiness. Start today to create a future that is better for everyone. Summer is the perfect time to invite a little more sunshine and light into your life.

Summer can be a time filled with fun and memories. It can also be a little bit too busy and hurried. It’s hard when the adults still have to work, and the kids just want to play. It’s easy to let the kids become couch potatoes, but that isn’t the way to build relationships, families, or wonderful memories. Here are five quick ideas to help you out:

1. Breakfast

Breakfast, they don’t call it the most important meal of the day for no reason! Did you know that “hangry” was coined back in 1918? For over 100 years we’ve had an official word that teaches us we get “angry” when we’re “hungry.” If we start out with some good food (not sugar disguised as cereal) the whole day will be better. My dad can go practically the whole day after he eats yogurt and a banana. I have to have some protein or I won’t last long, but it doesn’t take long to fry an egg and have it with toast (or you can hard boil eggs the day before). The point is, breakfast doesn’t have to be a full-blown production in order to be healthy. When our days are full and busy and we’re working hard I make breakfast burritos and have them ready to grab, nuke, and run. I also like those overnight soaked oatmeal with fruit cups. A quick Google search will provide you with lots of fast, easy ideas. Here’s one to get you started: 16 Make-Ahead Breakfasts You Can Prep The Night Before (

2. Create a Family Challenge

What does your family like to do? Do you like to move and wiggle? Then learn a dance that you can do together – video it and share it with your loved ones. Do you like to think? There are lots of fun mystery games you can purchase to solve (get one that’s used off of Facebook or eBay and they’re lots cheaper). Better yet, make up your own mystery and challenge some friends to solve it. Then have them make a mystery for you. If that sounds too complicated, grab a board game and play that together. Perhaps being outside is more your style. You can go for a hike together or train together for a marathon. Do you like art? Learn to paint together or to work in clay, or create pictures using rocks, shells, or leaves that you find. The options are endless! Find something that has something in it that interests everyone in the family and challenge yourselves together!

3. Experience Another Culture or Time

Have you ever wanted to visit a famous museum but lived too far away? There are hundreds of museums you can visit with the internet! Collections — Google Arts & Culture has links to over 1,200 museums. You can travel the world without a passport and the costs of travel. Everyone can pick one or more and all can learn. You could also read a book together, or each of you read (or listen) to one separately on the same topic and then share what you learned. Pick something you learned that you want to try and do it together. For example, you may want to learn more about chocolate. You could read (or watch the movie) Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. You could then visit the Aggie Chocolate Factory at USU and take a free tour to learn how chocolate is made. Later you could make fudge together as a family.

4. Try Something New

Pick a country or culture and learn about it, then try making some of the foods together. Cooking as a family is always fun and adding in the adventure of new foods to try will just spice it up. You may want to study your family tree and make foods from countries where your roots are or maybe you just always wondered what it would be like to try eating snails. You may discover new family favorites (or a reason to pull a backup meal out of the freezer). Maybe food isn’t your thing and you prefer to build. You can study different styles of architecture and then go for a walk or a drive and look at the houses and buildings and see what you have learned. Later you can build something out of legos, sticks, rocks, or paper and more! The possibilities are endless, you may have to put all of your ideas into a jar and pull one at random.

5. Combine Forces to Get the Chores Done

We all know the adage, “Many hands make light work” because it’s true. Once a child can walk they can begin to help. Sure, they may not bring the item you asked for, but that just gives us a chance to try again. Yes, it may be faster and easier to do it yourself, but you lose opportunities to bond and get good stories. My Dad will tell you of how I would help him fix the car, handing him the wrong tools and maybe dropping a few through the engine. At some point he would perk up and say, “Do you hear that?” I never heard anything, but he could hear Mom calling for me because she needed help and send me to the house. Mom always knew that when I came running because she had called me when she really hadn’t that that meant Dad needed break. I helped, was involved, and we got a good story, too.

Kids can help each other with their chores so everyone gets done sooner and there’s more time to play. Mix things up, make today’s chores “Pirate day” and come up with fun pirate names, swab the deck instead of mop the floor, dust the mizzen could be dust the blinds, and so on. Play sea shanties while you work and maybe end with a trip to the beach or the pool. Any theme will work, but each one will create memories and strengthen relationships.

Families come in many forms. Love can create bonds that are unbreakable. If you consider yourself to be a family there is a source of strength and commitment there. Family loves you no matter what, family is there for you when the times are tough, and family gives you strength to resist going down dark paths. We’d love to be a part of your family, stop by and see how we can help you create the family filled with love and happiness that you dream of.