We all function better when we feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. A country thrives when its people believe in the overall direction of the nation. A company excels when the employees want the organisation to do well. And a family is watertight when it’s a collective unit rather than a bunch of individuals. While there’ll always be a connection between family members, the degree of connection can vary widely.
When it comes to your children, it’s a good idea to actively foster this connection rather than let it just develop on its own. And part of that will involve developing the child’s interest in the family. How can you do this? We’ll take a look at some effective ways below.
Extended Family Gatherings
It’s hard to feel a connection to the broader family unit if you never spend any time with them! Anyone who has aunties, uncles, and cousins knows just what a positive impact they can have on a person’s life. We know that everyone’s always busy, and those large family gatherings can sometimes be difficult to organise/not a priority, but it’s worthwhile forcing it through. It’s really important to develop those connections; there’s nothing worse than hearing a person say, “I have cousins but never spent any time with them.”
If you go away for longer periods, say, a week on holiday, then you’ll integrate your children into the larger family much more easily, and also create lifelong memories that they always look back on.
It’s easy for children to think that life began when they arrived. But as you know, you and everyone else that was already born before they arrived had a full life before your new child entered the world! When they’re a little older, be sure to share what life was like before their arrival. It’s always pleasant to hear the tales of how parents met, what family life was like before another child entered the scene, and how parents lived when they were younger. It’s a great way to spend an evening and certainly beats watching television!
Learn the History
You’ll know your own history, but do you know your family’s history? There’s a long, long line of people that came before you. And in this day and age, it is easier than ever before to learn all about your ancestors. For example, do you know much about where your name comes from? The meaning of some names, especially Irish surnames, are well known, and can reveal a lot about your long-gone family members. There are also ancestry sites that help to put names (and even faces) to your distant relatives.
Finally, be sure to keep the traditions alive! You’ll have developed family traditions when you were younger as a family, why not introduce them into your family setup, especially around Christmas and other holidays? It’s a way to keep the thread that links past and present family members together alive, and one day, your children will have the same traditions.