10 Ways To Connect With Your Family

JoFamily Life, Parenting

Connect with your family

Finding ways to connect with your family in what often seems like a disconnected society is hugely important. Whilst periods of lockdown may have brought this into focus, slipping into a new way of life seems to be rather like kangaroo jumping into the unknown. Family video calls have been dropped, regular communication and ad hoc ‘checking in’ has slowed down and in some cases judgement and discord has re-entered relationships. As the pace of life picks back up, with school work, events, extracurricular activities, and socialising out of home, I am trying hard to schedule in time to nurture those important connections with my children. In 2023 I am quite determined to make more family time and create adventure through the year!

How am I going to connect with my family over the coming months? I have already made a start with having 121 trips out with two of my three sons (the third is planned in!). I am also clearing diary time for our weekending trips away. But there are plans in place for activities that involve all five of us, and I wanted to share them in case they might support your own plans with your family this year. Whilst we are doing most of these as just the five of us, they can involve wider family too!

Spending time in the garden

It might sound daft, but spending time in the garden is a high priority for me this year. Last year with building work going on at the back of the house we didn’t really do much to, or in, our garden. I have hopes of sitting out for evening meals, lunchtime drinks and even reading out there this year. We’d like to make a few improvements too, and are eyeing up getting a hammock and hammock stand, and possibly some solar powered lighting.

Creating A Family Journal

I would love to create a family journal. A place to stick in mementos from holidays and days out, some photographs or postcards. We’re keeping everything crossed that we will be able to go abroad with the boys this year, so it seems like the perfect time to make a start on a family journal that can be added to over the years.

Fruit Picking

It may seem unusual to suggest fruit picking in March when we’re in the Northern Hemisphere, but with fruit farms starting to open their gates from May it seems sensible to get planning! Farms are often open throughout the summer but the best pickings tend to be around late June. Depending on the good old British weather of course…

Sleeping Under Canvas

We haven’t, as yet, booked a family camping trip this year (although we do have glamping in the diary, but does that really count?). The boys are going away a couple of times with their Scout group though, so for sleeping under canvas I might just pitch the tent in our garden. This can be just as much fun. It brings back memories of when my father did the same for me and my sisters when we were younger too. I recall having a sleepover party in our tent on one occasion!

Birdwatching

Birdwatching is so easy to do. From a garden, balcony, in a park or whilst on holiday. I’m rather looking forward to doing some birdwatching when we go abroad later in the year, to see if the boys spot some of the birds that we see in our garden in another country. We have lots of bird books at home, but the RSPB have a really handy spotter sheet that can be used out and about too.

Playing a Board Game

One of Jacob’s Christmas presents last year was a collapsible table that can be used in our living room for board games. It’s perfect for laying out something larger like Monopoly, and gathering round. We’ve also been enjoying Scotland Yard recently, and have other board games to dust off this year. We’ve not yet played Cluedo with all of our boys so I’m looking forward to reintroducing that to the mix!

Reorganising Family Photos

We have a large box of family photos that are overdue a good sort through. I would love to get more in albums so that it is easier to sit and look through them now, and in the future. I also need to find a better place to store them to keep them away from extremes of temperatures.

Stargazing

We are lucky to live on the edge of the countryside, so regularly see planets as well as constellations, the ISS passing over and even shooting stars (meteors). Stargazing with my family brings me real joy. It brings us together and gives us some peace in what can often be a chaotic life brimming with back to back diary commitments. One of my favourite memories shortly after moving in to our house was lying on the front lawn with my eldest son looking up at the stars.

ISS flies over
Using the SkyView Lite app to identify objects in the night sky

Geo-caching

We first went geo-caching with my father a few years ago and all thoroughly enjoyed it. It felt like following a modern day treasure map. This was a popular activity through lockdown too, when restrictions changed to allow exercise further away from home. Last year we didn’t get round to it at all though, and I think I even removed the app from my phone. This summer I am keen to get back on it and go exploring!

Making A Meal Together

We started setting time aside to ‘eat around the world’ during 2021, and haven’t dropped that idea just yet! The basic principle is that we regularly try a new dish from cuisine that is popular in other parts of the globe. Thus far I have been the person cooking the meals, but this year I’d like to share the process with the boys. I think that they will get a sense of accomplishment as well as learning a new skill.

Final thoughts

That’s our list for this year at least! 10 things doesn’t seem like a lot but I know that these activities will keep us busy in 2023. I hope if you’re looking for ways to connect or stay connected with family this year, that they will be helpful for you too.