There are countless ways to tell your children that you love them: a hug, attending their sporting events, even buying them the present that they’ve wanted for so long and rightfully deserve. However, with families under intense financial pressure during this double-dip recession, parents must realise that what really counts is bonding with your children and putting in the time and effort to create lasting memories.
Family bonding time
One of the best things about spending time together as a family is that it can almost always be completely free. Try to eat all of your meals together, or at least have family dinner. Sit at a table away from the television, and institute a “no mobiles” rule so that everyone can sit and talk to each other without being distracted. Make sure all members of your family, even the little ones, are brought into the conversation by asking them how they felt that day, what they learned that day, and what they did that day.
Of course, the presence of technology doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t bonding. Even doing something simple like taking the time to watch a TV programme that your children like, and then asking them what they like about the show or why they like their favourite characters, can be a wonderful way to get to know your children.
If your family is one of the millions in the UK that are not getting enough exercise, why not try exercising together? Chances are that you all have bicycles, or can get them cheaply at a charity shop or car boot sale. Even without equipment, you can still go out for walks or jogs with your children. Another way to get exercise and bond with your children while helping the less fortunate at the same time is to volunteer, since you can do anything from stock food bank shelves to build homes for those who need them.
Saving for the future
Besides the obvious benefits that spending time together can bring to your family, families who spend time bonding by playing games, talking and reading are spending less time at the shops. Instead of going towards clothes, shoes, and expensive nights out, that money can go towards something that really matters: your children’s futures.
Money that you save each month can go towards Junior ISAs, which are children’s savings vehicles that let you put £3,600 away each year until your child turns 18. The money in all Junior ISAs will be completely tax-free when your child has need of it, and since it’s offered by Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, and over 30 other providers, it’s easy to get started on the road to saving.