Summertime Family Bonding

If you want to reconnect with your kids, summer might be the best time to do it. Without the stress of school and homework, summer provides great opportunities for family bonding.

The Early Show contributor Robin Goodman discussed how you can use the summertime to create memories with children and get to know them better.

Use the summer to establish family customs. Goodman said, "What you're creating is tradition. You're creating an expectation about children and families — that they are part of something."

Children can learn valuable lessons by spending time with their family during the summer season. "(Children) learn things like manners. They learn to share. They learn to take responsibility for other people," Goodman said. "There's a lot of learning that goes on during the family time."

Statistics show that there are many benefits to families who eat dinner together on a nightly basis. Use the summer to start this practice. "It's not just about the time, but about the quality of the time. Are you asking about each other's day? Are you learning about what's going on in (the children's) world? They will be learning about what's going on in your world," Goodman said.

For parents who struggle to get their kids to open up, Goodman suggested beginning a conversation with something about your own day. "Start the conversation with 'This is what the hardest part of my day was' and then (the kids) join in," Goodman said.

Beyond dinner, consider taking a road trip. Goodman says that this is guaranteed time with your children. "They can't escape," she said. "They are a captive audience. You have a shared experience. Listen to what's going on in the backseat."

Goodman also recommends doing community service as a family. This will give them an opportunity to do good while you are getting to know them better. Goodman said, "The kids aren't under a microscope. You learn something about them, as they interact with other people. And they see you as a role model in the world doing something the matters."

And the simple things can go a long way over the summer, especially outdoors. "Maybe it's everyone has breakfast on the back porch, instead of in the kitchen. Or have a badminton net set up and you can go there as a family."

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