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Challenge: What Makes a Family?

How Togetherness Fuels Your Family And Dissolves Differences

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No matter what circumstances led up to you having a houseful, it's vital that you and your family focus on the lynchpin that makes the whole thing go -- togetherness.

If you've been alive this long, you probably know by now that there's no such thing as the perfect family.

It's not about doing things right -- it's about making the most out of each moment.

You might be a single mother trying to hold it together. You might be remarried and have a blended family that is getting to know each other. Or perhaps you're a typical two-parent biological household, but need to balance your work and personal life.

The best way to make an impact that allows for graceful mistakes, do what you can every day to be present with your family members.

Presence is taught and stressed in every spiritual practice, so make sure you are having genuine moments everyday with your family. Whether you have 10 hours or 10 minutes with your kids, look them in their eyes and enjoy their presence, allowing yourself to enjoy the feelings that come with that.

When you're distracted by thoughts of work or what you need to get done that day, you rob the family of your unique and special energy.

Since togetherness is the hot button word that links families together, get really deliberate about fostering this togetherness.

Studies show that families that eat together live with less stress, experience depression at lower levels and foster self-esteem and confidence.

For all intents and purposes, you make your family healthier simply by eating together.

Make sure you're also taking time to get out of the house and go to the movies, a ballgame and otherwise have fun in each other's company. If you get deliberate about this, your family will look forward to it and you'll be able to thrive together.

Consider workout out together as a family also. Some 90% of kids eat poor diets, so make sure you're also keeping fresh food in the house to nourish everyone and prevent health setbacks.

Above all, make sure you're connecting, loving and reconnecting. This sets your inner compass as a family and will let togetherness and love guide you -- no matter what circumstances brought you together as a family.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.