52 Fun Ways to Bond in Your Stepfamily
The thought of bonding in a stepfamily can sometimes seem impossible — or at least challenging. Step-parents sometimes fear rejection and bio-parents might anticipate lots of stress or pressure.
But the truth is, bonding can be light-hearted and even fun. Building strong bonds in a stepfamily is all about small steps. It's the culmination of hundreds of little moments all added up that creates secure relationships. It's all about patience and persistence — bonding takes time!
As you think about how you can 'blend' your stepfamily by building close bonds, consider 2 different perspectives.
First, pay attention to all the 1-on-1 relationships. Everyone in your family needs focused time with each individual. For bio-relationships that may mean a couple of hours connecting in a way that is meaningful. For step-relationships it could be a 15 minute activity. And for couples it could be a fun date night activity. Whatever stage you're in, be creative about your intentionality as you support the individual connections in your home.
Second, make some time for everyone to be together. But keep in mind that tensions are often highest when everyone in the family is together. Be strategic with family time based on your unique level of connection as a family. If you notice lots of stress for yourself or others when you're all together — then keep that time short and have an activity like the ones below that holds everyone's attention. If stress is low and connection is high in your family, great! You may want to enjoy more extended time and choose activities that allow for lots of interaction.
With those two thoughts in mind, consider how your stepfamily can enjoy some of the suggestions we've gathered together that can make bonding fun:
Have a Movie Night (at the theater or at home)
Go for a Picnic
Visit a Water Park or Waterslides
Hang out at the local Park or Playground (bring a frisbee for the older kids)
Enjoy a Hike
Go for a Bike Ride
Visit the Beach, Lake or River — see if you can spot some fish or other water creatures
Visit a Museum — Children's, Art or Historical
Cook a Meal or Bake Some Goodies!
Visit the Zoo, Aquarium or Wildlife Refuge
Do some Crafts, Art or Sidewalk Chalk
Play Hide & Seek
Play Video Games — Interactive Dance or Sports Games are fun for families
Go for an Ice Cream or other Treats
Hang out with older kids at your local Coffee Shop
Play a Board Game or Card Game (We like Ticket to Ride and Skip-Bo)
Go to your local Arcade or Skating Rink
Do a Community Service Project Together
Go Camping — in the Wilderness or just in your Back Yard!
Have a Water Gun Fight
Go Kayaking or Canoeing
Have a Water Balloon Fight
Hook up the Slip 'n Slide (Careful Adults…don't hurt yourself! :-)
Arrange a Neighborhood Baseball or Softball Game
Have a 4-Square Tournament in the Driveway
Build a Blanket Fort in the Living Room
Have Snowball Fight (sorry if you don't get snow where you live)
Go for a Walk Together
Go Jogging or Running
Put on a Puppet Show or Family Play
Play Dress-up (You too Dads & Step-Dads!)
Play with Dolls or Action Figures — or Yo-yo's, Jacks or Pick-up-Stix (yes…we're old school!)
Read a Book Together
Learn to Play a Musical Instrument Together
Have a Tea Party
Build a Tree House
Fix up an Old Car Together (teach kids the lost art of changing their own oil!)
Go Shopping — at the Mall or your favorite Consignment Stores
Hunt for Treasures at Garage Sales
Take a Class Together (cooking/art/crafts/life skills)
Take a Road Trip or Day Trip
Have a Dance Party
Do some Bug Collecting (like butterflies - but let them go :-)
Leaf or Flower Pressing
Spend some time Star Gazing
Explore whatever Nature is Near You
There's so many ways you can be intentional about building strong bonds in your stepfamily. Think about one thing you can do this week to connect either as a family or 1-on-1.
QUESTION: What other ways do you like to bond in your stepfamily? Leave a comment below…