Create a sense of belonging in your immediate environment

In a world where we’re holding everyone at a safe distance during the pandemic, it can be hard to find ways to keep coming together. In our immediate home environment, our relationships may be shifting, our routines falling apart, and our connections fraying. 

But creating a sense of belonging isn’t as difficult as it sounds—and it’s a critical tool for more self-esteem, less stress, and a more positive worldview. To start creating a sense of belonging right where you are, try a few simple tips. 


Start with a good morning

In the early morning rush to school (or to the home computers), it can be tempting to sleep in and then shake kids awake and hurry through breakfast. However, morning is a great time to create a sense of belonging that you can reinforce throughout the day. Take some extra time to wake your kids up gently, and eat breakfast together whenever you can. This creates a positive, inviting tone for the day, for all involved!


Seek out connection

When everyone feels like they belong, there’s a sense of connection within the family. This means not allowing any one member to self-isolate—which can be more of a challenge as kids get older! Without being overbearing, make sure to reach out for one-on-one quality time with your child, making it clear that you value their presence and involvement with the family, while still giving them occasional independent time to do their own thing. Use jigsaw puzzles, family game nights, and watching a movie together as ways to stay connected. 


Create routines

We’ve talked about routines on the blog before, but they really are critical for strengthening family structure, especially now. Feeling comfortable with predictable routines can help the whole family feel a sense of belonging: everyone knows what is expected, what is coming, and what to do. It makes the day more like a dance you’re doing together, rather than a chaotic mess you fight through separately.


Cultivate traditions

Just as common routines create a sense of belonging, so do traditions. This is especially true during the holiday season, but you can easily apply it to daily life, as well. Create your own traditions, like a weekly video call family breakfast with the extended family. Have a monthly movie marathon day with plenty of popcorn, pajamas required. Even simple rituals and traditions help a family feel as if everyone is on the same team.


Invest in each other’s interests

When you invest time and attention in your children’s interests, talents, and skills, you show them that they fit in with you, and that you value what they offer. Whether you have a little athlete who wants to play baseball with you in the yard, or a budding artist who wants to show off their gallery, make time to acknowledge (and encourage) these interests!


Laugh together

Smiles and laughter have been shown to ease stress, smooth over existing conflicts, and build relationships. Within a family environment, it’s a great way to make everyone feel a sense of connection. After all, it’s pretty hard to stay divided if you’re laughing at the same jokes! Take time for silly pretend play, funny movies, and dinnertime jokes and puns. A little infectious laughter signals approval, happiness, and shows that you enjoy each other’s company.

Creating a sense of belonging isn’t difficult, but it does take a little thought and attention to detail. The end result is well worth it: a family that trusts each other, communicates often, and values every person’s interests and skills. In these overwhelming times, it’s hard to underestimate the value of this togetherness.

If you’re overwhelmed by everything your family has on its plate, check out our other blog posts for more of the insights you need!

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