Secrets of a happy family

An article at WebMD reveals 15 secrets to a happy family life, offering a welcome helping hand when it comes to keeping the peace at home:

1. Enjoy each other: a happy family is glad to see each other when they get home from work and school.

2. Swap stories: ask your kids what happened at school today, and share something that happened to you at work or home.

3. Put the marriage/partnership first: set a good example of a loving partnership by prioritizing your partner and your relationship.

4. Eat together: families that eat together, stay together.

5. Play together: have activities that you do as a family on a daily basis, such as reading a bedtime story.

6. Put family before friends: friends are important, but creating plenty of fun within the family will stop kids looking for excitement – or mischief – elsewhere.

7. Limit after-school activities: instead of overloading kids and ending up spending little or no time together as a family, aim for moderation or create some of your own after-school activities such as bike riding or swimming that you can do together as a family.

8. Build and honour rituals: strengthen family bonds by creating special things that you do together as a family, such as pizza nights or regular Saturday morning activities.

9. Keep your voice down: create rules, set limits, and enforce boundaries, but don’t lose your temper as this only fuels a stressful environment.

10. Don’t fight in front of the kids: or if you do, explain that you just had a disagreement and that it is all ok now.

11. Don’t work too much: it can make family life dull and lead children to believe they are not worthy of your attention.

12. Encourage sibling harmony: remind your children to appreciate their siblings and how lucky they are to have them.

13. Have private jokes: this forges strong bonds and a sense of belonging.

14. Be flexible: make sure everyone still feels like part of the family, even as they grow, change, or leave home.

15. Communicate: keep channels of communication open between all family members, rather than letting the matriarch be the bottleneck through which all communication must flow.

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