Quality time and family relationships
- Use everyday time together to talk and share a laugh.
- Have time together when devices are turned off and out of sight.
- Have one-on-one chats with each family member to strengthen individual relationships.
- Set aside time with your partner, if you have one. You could explain to your children that it’s good for your relationship with your partner to have this quality time alone together.
- Do regular, fun things together as a family. This can be as simple as a family soccer game at the local park on Saturdays, or a family board games night each week.
Positive communication and family relationships
- When your child or partner wants to talk, try to stop what you’re doing and listen with full attention. Give people time to express their points of view or feelings.
- Be open to talking about difficult things – like mistakes – and all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety.
- Be ready for spontaneous conversations. For example, younger children often like to talk through their feelings when they’re in the bath or as they’re getting into bed.
- Plan for difficult conversations, especially with teenagers. For example, sex, drugs, alcohol, academic difficulties and money are topics that families can find difficult to talk about.
- Encourage your children with praise.
- Let everyone in the family know that you love and appreciate them.
Positive non-verbal communication
It’s also important to be aware of the non-verbal messages you send. For example, hugs, kisses and eye contact send the message that you want to be close to your child. But a grumpy tone of voice or a frown when you’re doing something together might send the message that you don’t want to be there. Positive communication can be about respecting someone’s desire not to talk. For example, as children move towards the teenage years, they often want more privacy. But you can stay connected with your teenage child, both through everyday activities and planned time together.Teamwork and family relationships
- Share household chores. Even very young children can enjoy the feeling of belonging that comes from making a contribution.
- Include children in decisions about things like family activities and holidays. Give everyone – including young children – a chance to have their say before you make the final decision.
- Let children make some of their own decisions, depending on your children’s abilities and maturity.
- Create family rules together that state clearly how your family wants to look after and treat its members. For example, ‘In our family we speak respectfully to each other’.
- Work together to solve problems. This involves listening and thinking calmly, considering options, respecting other people’s opinions, finding constructive solutions, and working towards compromises.
Appreciation for each other and family relationships
- Take an interest in each other’s lives. For example, make time to go to each other’s sporting events, drama performances, art shows and so on.
- Include everyone in conversation when you’re talking about the day’s events.
- Share family stories and memories.
- Acknowledge each other’s differences, talents and abilities, and use each other’s strengths.