During this time in our lives, it is important to establish healthy communication patterns with our children and spouse due to the rapid changes we are experiencing. Many families are experiencing changes in their work, personal life and home environments.
It is important to sit down with your family at least once a day so that you can unpack your mental bags and bond with each other.
While working as a eating disorder facility counselor in Minneola Florida, one of the things we did before each group session and our meals was a "check in." Since I noticed that most of our clients were younger I decided to do my check ins with the use of viral meme pictures. The kids thought the meme check in cards were hilarious and most times it would break the ice and establish beautiful rapport. They would open up about their thoughts and feelings and this helped me navigate the rest of our night at a different pace. Understanding what is going on in the life of your family member from their perspective is crucial for healthy communication. As a parent we feel like we know how our kids and significant other may feel, when in actuality our family has a entirely different outlook on whats going on in their life. When you start to implement check ins with your family it may feel strange and the kids may question you, your spouse may wonder what you're cooking up as well but as time goes on they will adjust quickly.
When your spouse and children feel like they can communicate with you in a unbiased atmosphere, opening up about their woes (which may be huge to them and minuscule to you) and seeing you as an ally not the enemy this changes the atmosphere of your home for the better.
While we are adapting to our new lives based on the pandemic and political climate at this time, it is important for us to build stronger connections with our household members. If you are noticing that the family members in your home are not having family time, dinners or outings together it is important for you to establish this as soon as possible. Families that have strong communication skills are less likely to have rules broken, miscommunications or arguments.
Your homework is
- Establish a certain time that you guys have dinner at minimum three times a week
- Create a message thread with everyone in the house and send out a text when they wake up or when they go to sleep that says "I love you and I am here if you need me" or "how are you feeling right now"
-Have one family game night every other week
Feel free to come back to this post and let me know how your homework is going!