A Foolproof Formula for Increasing Family Harmony during the Holidays

What’s life like around your house? Maybe you spend most of your time sharing joyful moments, or perhaps you’re stuck arguing over the same old issues.

Conflicts are a natural part of family life, and they can even be beneficial when handled constructively. On the other hand, a family that knows how to express love and pull together has advantages. You enjoy more peace and happiness, and you feel gratified knowing that your children learn how to thrive as adults.

You can experience greater family harmony starting today as we prepare ourselves for visiting family over the holidays. Use these ideas to create a climate of appreciation and cooperation, every day and during the holiday season

Spend Time Together:

1. Eat as a family. Strong family relationships require time and effort, and mealtimes are an ideal opportunity to stay in touch and share in-depth conversations. As a bonus, you’ll probably eat healthier too.

2. Connect individually. In addition to family dinners and outings, schedule one-on-one time with your partner and each of your children. Try to leave home for a date night at a restaurant or local theatre at least once a week. Take your daughter to a science museum and play board games with your son.

3. Stay active. If you’re like many families, you may text or watch TV even when you’re in the same room. Put aside the passive entertainment to ride your bikes or visit the gym.

4. Have fun. Make family gatherings and activities something you look forward to. Consider everyone’s interests when you’re planning vacations or holiday parties.

Enhance your Communications:

1. Listen closely. Give your family members your full attention when they have something to say. Keep an open mind and resist the urge to interrupt. Use questions and gestures to show that you’re engaged.

2. Provide validation. You can acknowledge each other’s feelings even when you disagree. Let your partner and children know that you care about their concerns and share your own similar experiences when appropriate.

3. Seek balance. While some family members will have more power than others, you can still treat each individual fairly. Give children choices and ask for their input as much as possible.

4. Offer praise. Appreciate the unique strengths and abilities of each family member. Encourage your partner to talk about their accomplishments at work. Tell your children that you’re proud of them when they complete their homework or share their toys.

5. Teach skills. Show your children how to resolve conflicts and talk about sensitive subjects. Provide a positive role model and use techniques like role-playing, watching and discussing instructional videos.

More Ideas:

1. Create rituals. Holiday traditions and nightly bedtime stories encourage strong bonds. Develop the practices that reinforce your family values and give you a sense of belonging.

2. Do your share. Families flourish when each member generously contributes. Let your children know what a huge difference it makes when they do their chores, and watch out for their younger siblings. Divide up responsibilities with your partner based on your talents and goals.

3. Plan and prepare. Sometimes you can anticipate events that may be challenging for your family to handle. Plan and set some ground rules for how you’ll deal with visits from your in-laws or the first time your teen arrives home long after their curfew.

4. Consider counselling. Maybe you feel like you need more help, or you think an outside perspective could shed light on a recurring issue. Family counselling could reveal new options and provide additional tools for dealing with problematic situations.

Just remember, you can change the dynamics of your family. Replace arguments and fighting with cooperation and respectful conversation. A nurturing environment creates a peaceful, harmonious home.

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