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Bobbi DePorter discusses Family Unity!

Family Unity During the Holidays

By Bobbi DePorter, Co-Founder of SuperCamp &

President of Quantum Learning Network

Holiday season is upon us! It’s a great time of year for families to be together and a great opportunity to build even stronger family ties. Here are eight tips on what you can do to strengthen relationships within your family during the holidays this year.

1. Make time for being together. While the holidays can be hectic, remember what’s most important – family. Find activities you enjoy doing together as a family or in smaller groups. It can be as simple as playing board games or as adventurous as a family hike. Then when you’re not busy carving the turkey, carve out time for these activities. It’s also a perfect time of year to get back in the habit of eating dinner together. When the kids are young, eating together is common. As they get older, other events and obligations often get in the way. Sitting around the dinner table together is one of the most relaxed occasions for casual family conversation.

2. Work together on projects. The holidays also lend themselves to family projects, whether it’s the whole family or just two or three family members. These projects serve as ideal bonding experiences. What kind of projects am I talking about? Putting up lights, decorating the tree, brainstorming gift ideas, shopping for another family member, creative undertakings (even as simple as building a puzzle together), cooking or baking, assembling a gift, and so on. The opportunities to tackle projects together are endless. All you have to do is ask for help.

3. Keep your cool. The holidays can include their share of stress, so you don’t want to undo positive family experiences with an overreaction to a minor event. Remember, minor mishaps aren’t major catastrophes. Incidents that occur at this time of year (and throughout the year) provide chances to practice good communication and act as a positive role model. Often, categorizing incidents according to their importance will help keep responses and consequences appropriate.  Choose only the most important issues to evoke the strongest consequences.

4. Have fun with gifts. Shopping for gifts for your family can be stressful and expensive. Make it a fun experience by including a “white elephant” gift exchange. If your extended family gathers on a particular time during the holidays, the gift exchange is a great way to keep everyone’s time together light and laughter-filled.

5. Practice positive communication. There’s a very good chance that your family will spend more time together during the holidays. Create lasting value by practicing positive communication strategies, particularly with your kids. When you do engage in a conversation with your son or daughter, be attentive. Listen more and talk less. Resist the temptation to share your opinion on matters. Instead use this holiday together-time to let your kids get more comfortable with the idea of opening up to you on topics that matter to them. When you do talk, ask questions and encourage more dialogue by being interested in what they have to say with the statement, “Tell me more.”

Family and holidays6. Work on your Home Court Advantage. You may have seen me refer to building a “Home Court Advantage” with your family before. The holidays are the perfect time of year to do so. Start by letting your kids know how much you love them and that you love them for who they are. At SuperCamp, we see the greatness in every child. In families, kids often assume, whether rightly or wrongly, that their parents are never satisfied with them. Let them know just how great you think they are.

7. Reinforce your family’s values. The holiday season also is a natural time for reinforcing the values and beliefs that the family lives by. In the hectic, day-to-day life of a family, a discussion on family values doesn’t often come up. The holidays are different. Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks. An extension of this feeling and mindset is to ask your kids what they are thankful for, which can easily lead into an informal discussion on family values and beliefs. Keeping everyone on the same page, so to speak, will have a unifying effect throughout the year.

8. Set family goals. Your family is like a team. The most successful teams, whether in sports or business, work together toward a common goal. Use the holidays to set one or two family goals for the new year. I’ll talk more about goal-setting next month, but start thinking about some areas in your family’s life where everyone could be part of pursuing a goal.

Enjoy the holidays and celebrate the time you get to spend with your family.

Bobbi DePorter, co-founder of SuperCamp, authorBobbi DePorter is the President of SuperCamp and Quantum Learning Network, a U.S.-based educational firm producing programs for students, teachers, schools, and organizations across the United States and worldwide. With over 64,000 graduates, SuperCamp is the leading academic summer camp in the world. Visit