MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Missouri S&T     ●    St. Louis - Adults and Children - Adolescents




Help your family grow stronger

Lucy Schrader, MA, Building Strong Families Program Coordinator, University of Missouri Extension


How can family members be strong as a family?


  • Show each other caring and appreciation
  • Spend time together
  • Give each other encouragement
  • Commit to one another
  • Communicate with others
  • Help each other cope with change
  • Share spirituality
  • Build community and family ties
  • Define clear roles for everyone


What are some ideas of how you can do this?


  • Write short notes to each other (a simple hello, praise for a job well done, good luck for an event).
    • Tuck the notes under the person’s pillow or slip them into a backpack, lunch bag, dresser, gym bag or purse. Write at least one note to each family member every week.


  • Part of coping with change is learning to take on new roles unexpectedly. Once a month, ask family members to think of a chore or a job they usually do that they would like to give away for a day.
    • Trade tasks with each other. For that day only, a different family member does that particular job. The next day, talk about how it felt to switch roles and how the family can prepare to fill in for each other in the future.


  • Choose a good time for a discussion: at the dinner table, in the car, in the evening while relaxing. Eliminate distractions and allow enough time for everyone to talk and share their views. Use these fun ideas to start a conversation:
    • One really good thing that happened to me today is...
    • My biggest goof last year was....
    • Our family is really good at...
    • My favorite meal is...
    • One thing I like about each person in my family is...


  • Plant vegetables or flowers with your children. Your kids can learn about life from gardening, and you’ll spend time together.
  • Strengthen ties you have with neighbors by finding ways to be helpful. For example, split wood, watch a pet, share a favorite dessert, shovel sidewalks, bring in the newspaper, or shop for someone who is ill.



University of Missouri Extension’s Building Strong Families Program from the Family Strengths topic (written by Lisa Wallace and Saralee Jamieson, University of Missouri Extension Specialists and edited by Brenda Procter and Lucy Schrader, University of Missouri Extension).



University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator:
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri

Last Updated 11/23/2009