Connecting and building resilience

Berny Unruh
K-State Extension

In 2020 we may have to become more creative to connect with our family. Holidays are typically the one time of year that families from near and far gather for a family celebration. This normally allows families to build or rebuild relationships and create memories that last forever.

Strong families make building relationships a priority and plan for activities that help boost that relationship-building. The time spent together helps build resiliency in children. The term resilience has been used more this year than ever before.

Elaine Johannes was the featured speaker last week on “Parenting Through a Pandemic” series with Kansas 4-H. Her topic was “Conversation about family resilience: Getting ready for the winter/holiday break together”. Elaine’s recorded presentation for all to listen to is posted at under Hot Topics and Parenting through a Pandemic.

Following are some activities that are not expensive to do and they may just help strengthen your family. Make a plan by placing a date on the calendar for one or more of the following activities:

Have a family game night. Choose a game that is fun and includes everyone in the activity.

Watch a special family movie with popcorn and other snacks to make it a special night.

Cook together! Baking or preparing special foods or treats are a great way to instill cooking skills in youth. Young children can wash vegetables, set the table or frost cookies.

Make time for each child individually to build a sense of belonging.

If you are able to gather with grandparents, have them share stories of the past to help connect their values and beliefs with today.

Share or start a family tradition

List five people that you plan to connect with. Do something special for them. Make a card and give them some encouragement. Deliver a small food package or a small gift basket. Give them a call.

One article I read reported that “Kindness boosts resilience”. Be kind and help build resilience in your family.

Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District. She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at