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Three Steps to a Closer Family

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/24/2006 | Parenting
In today's busy world, it's easy to forget what matters most. Being part of a healthy, loving family is one of the best gifts we can give our children and creating it is much easier than most people think. Three easy steps are all it takes to get started.

Step One: Create an open line of communication. Allowing your children to speak openly and freely about their concerns and troubles is a sure-fire way to increase your family's closeness. Maintain honesty and you will find that problems get solved more quickly and easily. Instilling open communication in your children will also help them in all aspects of their lives later on. Listen with an open heart and a willing spirit. Don't judge the thoughts and feelings of other family members. Rather, try to understand where they are coming from and figure out solutions to ease their problems.

Step Two: Spend quality time together each week. Many parents work full-time jobs and it's difficult to fit in time for relaxation and leisure. This is not impossible to do and it's very important that you make time for your family. Take turns among members of the family deciding what to do together. Try to pick activities that encourage talking and interaction. For instance, bowling will enhance relations better than silently watching a movie in a theater. Try to keep the activity lighthearted and fun. Laughter bonds better than anything and its affects will ripple throughout your life for days.

Step Three: Set up a list of chores. This doesn't sound like it will bring a family closer, but one would be amazed to see what it can do. Having a clearly defined list of responsibilities for each member of the family will ease frustration and resentment among family members. It will also encourage family members to get involved with household responsibilities and teach them that teamwork is important. Be sure to put the list up in a place that everyone will see easily and make a point of congratulating people when they do something well.

There are many ways to gain closeness within your family. These three steps are designed to give you a head start and help you create the family life you have always dreamed of. Initiate conversation with your family and seek out their ideas and suggestions for gaining a closer relationship. Above all, be open and willing to listen and work together. It won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it.