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According to Eric Hanushek, research has shown a direct relationship with students and educational gains with two factors: parent structure and parent involvement [1]. For blended families, this process is just as critical for student success as it is difficult.

“Peace, love, and happiness” That short saying is something we hear all the time and often see on plaques and wall stickers in homes. But let’s face it, this is much easier said than done with newly blended families.If you are a recently blended family or you just want to improve your family’s relationship, try these activities:

Buttered Popcorn

Have a family movie night

Have a family movie night and if you have children younger than 13 make a movie bowl. The movie bowl should have some great family movie titles written on slips of paper. One of the children gets to close their eyes and pick a movie (oh, the excitement!). In our home, each of the kids rolls a die, and the highest roll gets to choose. During October and December, put in holiday-themed movies and use a festive bucket. You will be amazed at how exciting movie night becomes for your kid(s). Don’t forget the popcorn!

Boy Cracking Egg

Cook with the kids

Let your kids cook with you! I know what you are thinking, “my five-year-old will make a mess.” Yes, he will! However, this is a fun mess that gives you one-on-one bonding time with your current and new kids, not to mention an excellent learning experience. Teach them how to crack eggs, flip a pancake, or make a homemade pizza. These memories will last a lifetime, and the kids will feel so accomplished all because of YOU!

Ticket To Ride Board Game

Have a game night!

Bring out the board games! I have found board games to be the most fun and interactive activity to do on a Friday night with all my kids. If you don’t have any board games, check out some local yard sales. I found Scrabble, Operation, Uno, Cherry-O, Guess Who?, Risk, Monopoly, and more all for under $3 each (and all pieces included) at yard sales and thrift stores.

Doing these activities made my bonus children excited to be with me, and they looked forward to it, as well as my relationship with my biological children improving. Before I knew it, we had created family traditions and a loving family dynamic that has allowed us to grow as a family. Our growth sparked a positive increase in grades, model-behavior, and an eagerness for all of our children in school.


[1] Eric Hanushek, “Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance: An Update,” Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Summer 1997), pp. 141-164; Jay P. Greene et al., Education Myths (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), pp. 7-20.

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