Creating a Happy Family is an Investment
Family relationships can be some of the most challenging and most rewarding relationships in our lives. When relationships at home are going well, we feel much happier and better equipped to endure stressful situations in other parts of our lives. What better way to increase our overall happiness than to invest in happiness in our family relationships?
Here are 5 tips for creating and increasing happy family relationships that you can start doing right now. Each of these things takes only a minute or two to do. Try them all. See how they improve your family’s overall happiness.
1. Create Opportunities to Express Gratitude
Set up a bowl or jar with some scraps of paper beside it. Each day, perhaps just before dinner, ask family members to write down something they are thankful for. Periodically—such as when the bowl gets full, as part of your New Year’s celebration, etc.—read the thankfulness notes together as a family.
This creates opportunities for you to hear what’s meaningful in your family members’ lives. It also means you get to relive those positive moments together.
2. Give Positive Feedback Often
Everyone loves feeling appreciated and knowing they did a good job or that something they did was special to you. Make a point to compliment the people in your family when they do something helpful or good.
Relationship Tip: If you’re noticing a lot more conflict than usual in your home, try this. Suspend all criticism for two weeks. Don’t say anything critical, and instead focus on pointing out the good things your family members are doing. Be specific and genuine. See what happens after two weeks.
3. Display Pictures from Family Events Around the House
Frame that picture of the fish you caught while you were on the lake with your son. Hang the one of you with your daughters at the zoo on the refrigerator. Print the picture of you and your partner at the top of a hike and put it on your dresser. Use a digital frame to scroll through multiple experiences. You can even add new pictures over WiFi with some types of digital frames.
Posting these pictures where you can see them in your home means that as you go about your normal routines, you see images that remind you of those positive moments with your family, and you feel happier.
4. Create Electronics-Free Zones
This might mean no phones, TV or other devices at the dinner table, or no phones or devices for the first ten minutes in the car. Use the time to talk to each other. Ask open-ended questions. Listen without always expecting to have a chance to respond.
5. Eat Together Regularly
For some families, gathering around the dinner table every night is impossible with everyone’s varied schedules, and that’s okay! But it doesn’t have to mean that you never have the opportunity to gather over a meal together.
Try crafting at least one regular meal time each week when you can be together. My family eats together on Sundays and I look forward to this moment to reconnect.
If dinners aren’t possible, what about having breakfast together every Saturday or Sunday? Or perhaps lunch once a week?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. The important thing is to have repeated times together where you get to connect with family members in a positive way. Eating together is a simple way to do that. No matter what else we’re up to in our lives, we all have to eat, right?
Make These Happiness Boosters Your Own
Feel free to take these happiness tips and adapt them to best suit your lifestyle and relationships. The important thing is to continue to invest in your family relationships in positive ways that promote happiness in each member. Instead of a gratitude jar, you begin a family meal by each sharing something positive that happened during your day or week. Find the method that works best for you, and keep doing it!
For more tips on increasing your happiness, check out our post on giving the gift of experiences.
Get More Tips on Happiness in Relationships
You can learn more about how to bring greater happiness to your relationships in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, which teaches 21 happiness habits you can practice daily for a boost to not only your happiness, but your energy and productivity as well! Chapter 19 of my book gives more tips and ideas for crafting a happy family life. Check it out and let me know what helped you!
Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert