A number of people have to maintain a busy schedule every day, which leaves little time to spend with children and significant others. Connecting with the ones you love strengthens your relationship and even serves as an effective way to lower stress for everyone involved.
It’s no secret that while parenting presents an array of challenges for everyone, raising African-American children comes with its own special set of concerns. It’s essential for Black parents to reinforce love and togetherness in the home in order to give children a sense of belonging in a world that can be significantly alienating.
Dr. Kerby T. Alvy asserts in his book, Black Parenting: Strategies for Training, that African-American parents have high expectations for their children in terms of life success. This should be coupled with positive attention that instills a sense of value in children.
The family values of the African-American community are largely based on the heartache that came from family separation due to slavery. The result was the “adopting” of close friends as family members and the determination to reestablish the traditional family structure after slavery was abolished. These factors are the driving force behind the desire for closeness and a loving environment that many African-Americans share. However, achieving this familial harmony is a matter of caring for the body, mind and soul of family members in a way that will instill sound values for life.
Here are some practical ways that you can enhance the bond that you and your loved ones share.
Have Family Dinner
Studies have shown that kids who eat with their parents are generally happier and do better in school. Matthew W. Gillman, MD also states that having dinner with your kids will increase the likelihood that they’ll eat vegetables. A survey conducted in 2000 revealed that children between the ages of 9 and 14 who ate dinner with their loved ones were more likely to choose fruits and vegetables instead of fried foods and sodas. So, not only is dinner time a great opportunity to catch up with your family and get their opinions on current events, but sharing a meal can shape your child’s future health habits as well.
Celebrate as a Family
You can make each member of the family feel special and valuable by celebrating small victories. When your spouse gets a promotion at work, ask your kids to help you prepare a gourmet dinner. If your child has a great report card this semester, pitch a tent in the backyard so the family can take a celebratory camping trip close to home. When you make each accomplishment a reason to celebrate, you’re creating fond memories for everyone in the family.
Get In Shape Together
Working out with your family allows you to spend quality time with them while assisting everyone in bettering their health. While there are reports that indicate that some Black people feel that being too attentive when it comes to your health is a form of assimilation into White culture, studies have shown that about 50% of Black women and 37% of Black men are overweight. This is an indication that being physically active is essential for our overall health. Doing something with your loved ones that will provide mental, physical and even emotional benefits is an ideal way to show your love and concern. And you’ll have another reason to celebrate when you and your family start getting the results you want.
These are just some of the ways that you can make family time something to look forward to. It’s a great idea to ask your relatives for input when it comes to quality time, to ensure you’re engaging in activities that everyone enjoys.