3 ways to create a Tribal Family

When we tap into our tribal roots, children can really begin to flourish.

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Tribal Family

According to Professor Louis Cozolino, author of The Social Neuroscience of Education, it’s only in the last 5,000 years that humans have gone from living in tribal to agricultural to industrial-based societies. Although 5,000 years seems like a long period of time, it’s actually the blink of an eye in terms of biological evolution. Therefore, Cozolino argues, we are deeply rooted in our tribal past and children feel safest and happiest when they live and operate as part of a tribe.

The busyness of modern life, however, often means our family time together gets squeezed which affects our family’s wellbeing. So why not try these ideas to keep your tribe together:

1.       Prioritise meals together – as much as you can, get your family to sit together at dinner to share a meal. Studies show that children that eat with their families show better mental health and may even get better grades at school. You could even try getting your children to help prepare the meals with you which takes some of the burden off you and gives you even more time to talk and connect. Tribes that eat together, stick together!  

2.       Snuggle up – bodily contact with people you love releases the happy hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as the ‘tend and befriend’ hormone and it lowers your stress levels, and helps you feel connected and protected. Oxytocin has even been shown to have protective benefits for the heart and to slow the ageing process (which should counteract the wrinkles brought on by being a parent!) So, snuggle up with your kids on the sofa and watch a good movie, get close and read some stories together, or just have a good old-fashioned hug to release the love drug! 

3.       Get moving out in nature – our ancestors used to roam for up to 12 miles a day out on the Savanah, but our children are leading more sedentary lifestyles than ever before. The Chief Medical Officer for the UK recommends children take part in a minimum of 60 minutes vigorous activity per day. But a report in 2012 showed that 84% of girls and 79% of boys are not meeting this recommendation. So, ditch the smartphones and tablets and get outside as a family. Go to the park, go camping, go for a walk, get on your bikes. Not only is exercise essential for good mental and physical health but studies show that getting out in nature lowers stress and anxiety levels.

Supporting your children’s wellbeing at home does not have to be complicated or expensive. Children just need to feel part of a tribe. Give these ideas a go to foster your tribal family.

Happy experimenting,


Adrian Bethune

Founder , Teachappy

Adrian Bethune is Healthy Body and Mind Leader and teacher at a primary school in Hertfordshire. He is author of 'Wellbeing in the Primary Classroom – A Practical Guide to Teaching Happiness' (released by Bloomsbury Education September 2018). He was awarded a 'Happy Hero' medal at the House of Lords on the UN International Day of Happiness in 2013, and has been on stage with the Dalai Lama and Lord Richard Layard in 2015 talking about teaching happiness in his school. He founded www.teachappy.co.uk in 2017 to help schools put wellbeing at the heart of the curriculum.