Too often, family members seem to have little time to spend with each other, much less show appreciation for each other. Don't let busy schedules keep your family from staying connected. Showing appreciation for each other is an important part of building a strong family. Take the time to plan family activities every once in a while that allow everyone in your family to express their appreciation and love for one another.
Plan a Family Day
Plan a family day that includes activities the whole family will enjoy. Leave work and cell phones behind. Choose activities that will give you plenty of time to interact with each other. A visit to a national park, for example, where you can take hikes, go bike riding, canoeing, and have a family picnic, is ideal. You should also consider challenging activities where the family has to work together, such as whitewater rafting. Some whitewater rafting companies have beginner programs for families with children as young as 3 years old. You could also try a ropes course, where families have to work together to get each other through an obstacle course made primarily of ropes, usually suspended high in the air.
Weekly Appreciation Statements
Set aside time each week for family appreciation statements from each member of the family. The end of a family meeting is an ideal opportunity for appreciation statements. Have everyone start their appreciation statements with "(Name,) I appreciate you because ..." Make appreciation statements mandatory, even if some people in the family are upset with each other. For example, if two of your kids are in an argument, they cannot skip out on making an appreciation statement about each other. It might even be just the thing to ease the tension and get them to start speaking again.
Individual Family Appreciation
Take the time to recognize and appreciate the contributions of everyone in the family, individually. Put everyone's name in a jar. Once a month, pick a name out of the jar. That person gets to do something special of her own choosing with the whole family, whether it is going bowling, visiting a children's entertainment center, going to the movies, or going out to dinner. Everyone in the family can express their appreciation to that person in some way, such as letter, a small gift, or doing something nice for that person.
Annual Appreciation Awards
Have a fun family awards night each year to recognized achievements throughout the year. While you might have different awards for various reasons, such as "most helpful" or "cleanest room," include appreciation awards for everyone. You can have the kids use their creative arts and craft skills to create paper awards, or, you can make certificates on the computer and print them out. Express to each member of the family what they are receiving their appreciation award for, such as always helping a younger sibling with homework, or your partner making you coffee early in the morning, every day. You can include small gifts with the awards if you would like, such as gift certificates to a favorite store, restaurant or entertainment center.