9 things to do to have a close family

One of my goals as a parent is to have a close family.

In today’s post, I will share with you 9 things you can do to have a close family.

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My parents and family are some of my closest friends. I respect their opinion and like their company. My goal as a parent is to have the same relationship with my kids. But how do I foster that type of relationship with my kids?

Today, I am honoured to have Sarah Wall as a guest writer for my blog. She has 6 kids and knows what it takes to build those relationships. To connect it’s Sarah, you can read her blog here, or connect with her on Facebook, and Pinterest. To get more info, read her bio at the end of the post

9 things to do to have a close family

1. Friendship is important

Having friends is vital to our well-being as people. But it should start at home. One of the keys to parenting successfully is fun and friendship.

The reason my friend and I couldn’t seem to get together was that we were both prioritizing our families, and protecting that valuable family time.

Family time is essential to good parenting. I talked about in a previous post the necessity of being present to parent. You can’t parent at all if you aren’t there. But being present doesn’t always mean time spent as a family.

2. The family that plays together stays together

It’s a cliche saying, but it’s so true. If you want a relationship with your kids once they are grown and gone (and I think most of us do!) then you need to create those bonds and memories now.

A great way to bond with your kids is to have fun with them. Learn what they love to do and do it with them.

Turn up the music and have a dance party. Play games and have wrestling matches. Anything that makes your child smile and have fun with you is a great idea. These moments create bonds that last a lifetime.

How do you have fun as a family?

3. Family traditions

One of the best ways to connect with your kids is by forming family traditions.  You know — Saturday morning pancakes, or Friday night movie night.

Those rituals that you always do with your kids, from the daily good-morning hug to the yearly trip to the Christmas tree farm. These are the memories that create family bonds and memories, and that holds your family together.

One of our favourite traditions in my family is our yearly Christmas ornament. I started this when my first child was born. Even though she was only a few days old, I took her to the store, and chose an ornament with her, for our Christmas tree.

And every year since, I have taken my children to choose ornaments. I label them with the name and date in sharpie on the bottom somewhere. And every year, my kids get excited about unwrapping their ornaments from our boxes, remembering the year we bought it and hanging “their” ornament on the tree. They discuss for weeks what kind of ornament they’ll get this year. It’s a family bond that I treasure.

Types of traditions you can start

There are many types of traditions you can start as a family.

Daily, it could be the bedtime rituals you put your kids to bed with — storytime or night prayers.

Maybe it’s a weekly family board game night? Or a specific kind of meal you have once a month, that everyone helps to make. It could be as small as the “I love you” game my oldest daughter and I have.

We used to say it to each other when she was little, and now we do it via texting! (Teens and technology lol) Or it could be a huge thing that you plan for every year, such as a summer barbeque that you invite the whole neighbourhood too.

Click here to learn more about how you can make family traditions.

Create traditions with your kids. Have fun with them. They’ll remember it for the rest of their life.

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4. Choose your family

There’s an old saying that says you can’t choose your family, but you choose your friends. Having fun as a family helps create these bonds between the members of the family. We have fun, and we develop a friendship. Family fun makes friends out of our family.

One of my favourite things about homeschooling my children is seeing how they are each other’s best friends. They are sisters, of course, and like all siblings, they squabble and bicker at times.

But if you were to ask them who their best friend is, every single one of them would answer with their sisters’ names.


You may not choose who your family is, but you can choose to make friends with your family. One of the best ways to do this is to have fun as a family.

5. Foster friendships between your kids

I love seeing the friendship between my children. There is an ebb and flow to who plays with who, and who is getting along better right now, but the genuine liking that my kids have for each other shines. They love each other, of course. But they also like each other. A lot. And that’s huge.

I don’t have that relationship with my brother. Growing up, even though we were very close in age, we were so very different, that we did not get along. And my parents mostly concentrated on keeping the peace (I don’t blame them! Squabbling kids are no fun!) Today, my brother is an amazing man, husband, and father. I admire him — from a distance.

I hope for more for my children. Ideally, I want them to be close as adults. I’d love it if when one gets engaged, or gets a new job, or wins a scholarship, that the second person (after me) they called would be a sister. Or all their sisters! I want them to have big family gatherings, long after I’m gone. I want my children to be friends.

6. Be your kids’ best friend

My teenage daughter and I are friends. But I’m not her best friend. Yet. We’re working on it. It’s a huge part of parenting, and she is my firstborn, so I’m still learning how this is going to work. Because, while I want to be her friend, I’m also her mother.

When your children are little, they love being around mom and dad. They copy us, they tag along and get underfoot, and they listen and watch everything we do. We parents are their best friend.

It doesn’t always stay that way unless you work at it. I didn’t always do that with my oldest daughter, concentrating too much on being “in charge” and not enough on the relationship I wanted to have with my child. Being their friend means honouring their own choices, and inviting them, not dictating to them.

Yes, we’re still the parent. And there are times, especially when they are young and too immature to understand, that I need to make choices for them. But friendship means I listen to what they say, and even if they don’t like my choice, they feel heard. Friendship starts with respect.

7. Your kids are not your best friend

Even though I want to be my children’s best friend, it isn’t wise or even appropriate that they be my best friend. As their parent, I need to protect my children, as much as I can, from the dramas and hard choices of adulthood. It is not fair to them to use them as my support when they are too young to handle that pressure.

It would be like expecting a sapling to hold up the weight of a treehouse. You don’t build treehouses in young trees. You build them in mature trees because only mature trees can support the structure without breaking. Children can’t support adults the way other adults can support each other.

As parents, we need to find our support and our friends outside of our children. Ideally, that would be your spouse, of course. But those of us without spouses must be extra vigilant to connect with other adults, and not put our children in the role of being our best friends.

8. Fun and friendship

Being a good parent is really about the relationship you have with your children. Yes, being consistent and truthful is important. Yes, obviously, you need to be present.

And just as obviously, you need to check-in and check up on your kids. But it all boils down to the relationship. Is there friendship in your family?

Be your kids’ friend. Have fun with them. And watch your relationship grow.. and your parenting becomes easier and better than ever.

8. Take a break

Having time together as a family is important. But, to truly enjoy the time you have together it’s important to take a break once in a while.

Recently, it was one of those days. It had been coming on for a while, but I needed a break but it was hard to find the time and place in our schedule.

I wanted to connect with friends of ours, and it just seemed we couldn’t coordinate our calendars. We’d each proposed several trips, playdates, or other get-togethers over the course of several weeks. And it never worked out.

Finally, we both managed to make time for fun.  It was soo good. I spent a morning with friends, getting in a good adult conversation with other women I knew wasn’t going to judge me, who liked me and appreciated what I had to say — while my children and theirs played happily together.

Need More?

My goal is a parent is to have close family ties. This does not happen overnight and takes intention and time. The good news is that all the work does pay off in the in. To help you get started, I created a free planning guide. Click here to get it.

I the comment below, share what you do to build a close family. Please share this post with family and friends. Thank you.

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56 responses to “9 things to do to have a close family”

  1. Brittany Limberakis Avatar
    Brittany Limberakis

    I grew up in a super close family and still to this day we are probably closer than most families. We buy houses next door to each other so that we don’t have to live together but we are still close by lol. I think it is so important to have that bond with everyone you’re related to, not just parents and children but aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents as well!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Wow! That sounds amazing. I live on the other side of the country from my family and I miss them so much. So glad you have such a close family

  2. Charissa | thenotsobusymom Avatar
    Charissa | thenotsobusymom

    Family traditions are the best!! I think of those from my childhood and get excited about those we are building within our family now.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Which traditions are your favourite?

  3. taii Avatar

    as I got older I have witnessed my family grow further away from each other and it’s sooo sad! as a mom of 2 now I def make it my business to make sure we spend lots of time together and start family traditions with them. I don’t know what I’d do if my son would ever stop talking to me or his sister. I want to teach them that although they can be upset at each other it can only be for a bit. Grudges sometimes take over and it’s just sad.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      It sounds like your learning from your past and trying to do better for your own kids. Keep it up!

  4. Corey Wheeland Avatar
    Corey Wheeland

    Great post with an awesome message. My daughter and I are the best of friends, and it makes our relationship just that much more wonderful. Friendship is so important!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Thanks for commenting

  5. Lesly Avatar
    Lesly

    My mother always said “capture their hearts while they are young.” Your “a family that plays together stays together” reminded me of this truth <3 If we want that relationship when they leave the home we must build it!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      I love those 2 sayings! Thanks for sharing

  6. Zuzana Avatar
    Zuzana

    What a lovely read and great tips. I love the idea of creating family traditions, such ittle things can make a huge difference in the long run.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Yes they can! When things are crazy, that’s the one thing I hold on too! That in the long run, it does make a difference

  7. Nancy Powell Avatar

    I hope and pray that my family is still close when my kids grow older. Great ideas!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      I have the sam prayer

  8. Amanda Maxwell Avatar
    Amanda Maxwell

    Such a great post with an equally great message. We are always working on friendship at home!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Are there any things that have worked for your family?

  9. Gail Bandy Akeman Avatar

    We used to watch movies together all 3 of us. son is 16 now.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      That sounds like so much fun.

  10. TheKeeleDeal Avatar
    TheKeeleDeal

    These are great tips. As a kid my siblings and I didn’t always get along but now as adults we are really good friends. (even though we live across the country from each other.) My parent’s are also some of my best friends. In high school I think the biggest reasons I was friends with my parents is because they would listen, give advice and let me make the decisions.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      That’s so awesome! I have the same experience with my siblings and parents

  11. Chris Carter Avatar
    Chris Carter

    These were wonderful ideas. I too, take my kids to buy their ornaments every year and they love unwrapping each one when we decorate our tree- reflecting on years before. I started it with my first child when she was a newborn also! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration and the great insights too.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      I love that because our tree has become a tree of thanksgiving. Each ornament reminds me of a time and place and all the blessings we have

  12. Marissa Pedersen Avatar
    Marissa Pedersen

    Family traditions are so important! Mine had a lot growing up that kept us close.

  13. Erica @ Coming up Roses Avatar

    Yes!! I lovelovelove all of this! My family enjoys spending time together and having a blast.

  14. Lyndsey Piccolino Avatar
    Lyndsey Piccolino

    love all of these ideas!! anything to keep my family closer the better!

  15. Melissa Gendreau Avatar
    Melissa Gendreau

    I love the recommendations of playing together, fostering sibling friendships and building family traditions!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for commenting

  16. Belle Bermudez-Tubel Avatar

    These are such great tips! I grew up pretty close with my parents and I am hoping my kids will grow up the same way too. I love family traditions and certainly like to be someone my kids can talk to just about anything whenever they need someone to talk to!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      What was your favourite tradition growing up?

  17. Elyse George Avatar
    Elyse George

    My husband and I don’t have children yet, but this is something we talk about a lot – we care way more about this kind of stuff than if they become college athletes or the perfect preschool or whatever else. We are still just establishing our own traditions and I’m so excited to see how having kids will make it more fun!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      I love that you already have this in mind. Setting this up from the start is amazing! My husband and I decided to invest in family time vs individual sports

  18. APIECEOFELISE Avatar

    so inspiring for when I start my own family one day! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Thanks for commenting

  19. Sabrina Fox Avatar
    Sabrina Fox

    When I think back to being a kid, the family traditions were always what I looked forward to the most. Good tips!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Which was your favourite tradition as a child?

  20. Sarah-Jayne Avatar

    Loving your tip about starting family traditions. I agree that those are the memories that stay with us throughout our lives.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      If I think back to my childhood I think of the traditions we had and the fun we experienced together. Those memories seem to fog out the fights and disagreements

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