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. Isabelle Weber Avatar
    Isabelle Weber

    I love this, family is super important to me and my husband so we’re hoping to start some of our own traditions together!

  2. Jessica | Petite Style Script Avatar

    These are great tips for a close family! I loved my family traditions growing up!

  3. Tamara Goyette Avatar
    Tamara Goyette

    Traditions are a core part of my childhood memories and are the centre of having a close family for me.

  4. Mary Leigh Avatar

    These are all really good tips. We play together a lot around here and we love creating new traditions as a family!

  5. Irena - OnePointofView.net Avatar

    Great post! I think that a lot of people are not aware that, in order to have a close family, some effort is required. It is great that you write about this!

  6. Jolene Sng-Ong Avatar
    Jolene Sng-Ong

    I love family traditions! I hope my kids will still enjoy them with us when they’re older.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Me too!! Thanks for commenting

  7. Stacey Eckert Avatar
    Stacey Eckert

    Family traditions are my absolute favorite! I just got married this year so now all the family events are held at my house and I love weaving our family traditions into my new “family” life!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Making new traditions and weaving them together can be hard but I’m glad your figuring it out

  8. kiersten einsweiler Avatar
    kiersten einsweiler

    My sisters and I have always had a great relationship with our parents, and even as adults we still hang out with them a lot. We’ve also been able to balance that with the respect that children should have for their parents, which prevents us from becoming their best friends. I try the best I can to develop a similar relationship with my kids!

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      It is a hard balance and I think having parents who gave that as an example to us is a big help

  9. Heather @FrenchPress Avatar
    Heather @FrenchPress

    for us those family tradition are most important. even now that they are teens they still love doing the things we started with them when they were little

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      What sorts of traditions do you have?

  10. Toni-Ann Hylton Mayembe Avatar
    Toni-Ann Hylton Mayembe

    This is awesome. I hope that my boys will be close when they get older. With these tips I think I can help make it happen.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      I hope these tips help, thanks for commenting

  11. Nita Okoye Avatar
    Nita Okoye

    These are great ideas, I love how honest you are about these things.

    1. Anne Markey Avatar

      Glad you liked it, thanks for commenting

  12. Raising Twincesses Avatar
    Raising Twincesses

    these are great tips! I’m not very close with my siblings, but really want my daughters to be close throughout their lives!

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