1. Take time to talk and listen to each other: after school, at dinner(make eating one meal a day together a priority), and at bedtime.
2. Plan family meetings. Discuss plans for recreation. Notice and affirm effort and improvement from individual family members. Plan special activities. Problem solve and arrange a chore schedule.
3. Have “family clean-up times”. 1 or 2 times a week, devote an hour which the whole family cleans together. Turn up the music and have some fun!
4. Do not hide family problems from your children. The unknown is usually worse that the truth. Talk about difficult situations or people in an age appropriate way.
5. Spend “alone-time” with your spouse. Show your children that marriage is important and takes effort. Talk about your values. Not expect your kids to pick them up. Even handling conflict in an adult manner is a teachable moment. It teaches children, negation, forgiveness and selflessness.
6. Focus on each child singly, often. A few hours alone with a child builds your relationship.
7. Develop family interests and hobbies. The family that plays together is closer.
8. Balance your own emotions. Walk away when stressed and angry. Take time to get perspective.