They say that “Home is where the heart is” and right now we are spending increased amounts of time in our households, so developing healthy family and support networks is so important. Some families have found this time at home to be a positive experience where they have gotten to know each other better and feel closer than ever. Others have felt the stress and strain of trying to live, work, school and play in the same space for over 12 weeks!

Most of our circumstances lie somewhere in between these two extremes. Whatever your situation, in times like these, we all need strategies that will help us to thrive for the long haul.

So what is Family anyway?

The word “family” brings with it lots of different images, feelings and emotions – for better or worse!  Some people would not describe their blood-relatives as family for lots of difficult reasons or they may not even know them at all. Others see family as more than just genetics and include their friends, neighbours and close relationships.

In modern Britain today families are incredibly diverse; we have blended families, foster parent families, adoptive parent families, same-sex parent families, extended families and single-parent families… to name a few! Whatever our family looks like; most of us can choose to be a family member who brings out the best in others.

“Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst.”     – Marjorie Pay Hinckley

How can we bring out the best in others?


The Golden Rule means that we treat others how we want to be treated. This is THE number one SECRET INGREDIENT in all relationships. Find out what other people in your household might like – and do it! Examples could be : making someone breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning, helping someone with their homework, writing body confidence messages on post-its and sticking on the bathroom mirror, ordering flowers for a distant relative, or even dusting off a fun game you can all play as a family!


Think about something you were taught/ learnt from your parents or grandparents and share this with someone younger. Share stories with others to help connect the future with their past.


This time more than ever is a time for grace, forgiveness, letting go of mistakes and taking each day as it comes. Family routines and rhythms are disrupted and everyone may feel unsettled. Remind yourself that the perfect family doesn’t exist, no matter what you see on Instagram, you are doing great!


There are lots of reports of people getting to know their neighbours a little better during this time of limited travel. Take time to continue to cultivate these friendships, whether it’s a ten-minute chat over the garden fence, or a thank you card for someone who dropped by a food parcel. Why tell your local courier/postman how much you appreciate them at this time? Words don’t cost anything but can brighten up someone’s day immensely!


Here is an interesting activity to do yourself or encourage others to do… Follow the template on the resource section below (or copy the picture below) and stick photos of your family members, friends and supportive relationships on a tree. Include distant family members who you may not be physically able to see right now. Display in the home – as a reminder to keep perspective and gratitude for shared history, wisdom and experiences.

What can you do now? 

  • How can you identify what close relationships you have that are as important to you as blood-related family?

  • Make your Caring Tree using the instructions above. What did you realise about your family and supportive relationships by doing the Caring Tree?

  • What one person do you want to show your gratitude to this week & how will you do this?

Want to explore more?

The Gottman Institute. A great Research based approach to healthy relationships. Find a great resource to promote healthier relationships if you want to dig deeper here

Relate. Relationships advice organisation and counselling support with a helpful website.

You Version Bible App: Find out more about improving your relationships by downloading The Bible App to receive positive messages daily. Discover more here.

The Samaritans. If you are really struggling and need to talk visit this helpful website with a helpline here. Whatever you’re going through, call Samaritans free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.

Our Virtual Chaplain says…

The Bible gives great advice on how to behave in our relationships – this applies especially to our family members and close connections. We can easily realise how important neighbours and other friends have been during this time of restricted movement and unrest. It makes you realise the importance of the wisdom of the Golden Rule and the reality we need to Love our neighbour. This is the secret ingredient! Love in the Bible is a practical word – it means actually doing something for others.  Close relationships are those we most often take for granted. No kind word or encouragement is ever wasted. Giving is truly better than receiving – and brings us a deep sense of joy and satisfaction!

 “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Bible Reference: Matthew 7:12 The Message Version (MSG)