Families have the unparalleled ability to fight and forgive; make a scene, then makeup; and scream in your face before saying, “I love you.”
But just because you can do these things doesn’t mean it’s good for anyone’s well-being.
It’s important to focus on stress relief, physical health, and emotional wellness now more than ever—after all, you’re likely spending more time together than you ever expected. Use it wisely.
Target the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of your entire family with these four tips.
#1 Family Physical Fitness
Reap the benefits of an active lifestyle, both for your physical wellness and emotional closeness. There are so many ways to get outside and get that heart pumping that everyone can enjoy:
- Go on a hike or nature walk
- Enjoy a team racket sport, like tennis, pickleball, or squash
- Play Just Dance or Dance Dance Revolution together (they’re surprisingly tiring!)
- Put a basketball hoop in the driveway for after-school games
- Start cycling around the neighborhood
- Do an at-home workout
- Try whatever your kids love to do, whether that’s ballet, soccer, or martial arts
- Take a family vacation or day trip to a nearby ski hill
#2 Find Time for Peace & Quiet
Everyone needs a break from their hectic lives and busy schedules to just breathe. Otherwise, tensions run high, and the next big fight is just around the corner.
Impose a daily quiet time whenever things seem to escalate most for your family.
First thing in the morning as you all rush out the door? Just before dinner when mom is busy, but Billy needs help with homework and Suzie can’t find her ballet shoes? Or right before bed when the whole house enjoys a collective meltdown? If you have yappy pets that disrupt the peace, use CBD oil for cats or dogs to ensure everyone is abiding by quiet time.
You can also replace high-intensity activities with low-stress alternatives to keep everyone’s heart rate down. Ditch the after-dinner games that always unravel into screaming matches and enjoy a peaceful paint night instead or encourage your kids to read rather than duke it out real-time over Super Smash Bros. and Fortnite.
#3 Encourage A Safe Space at Home
Adolescence is tough enough; between school bullies, puberty, first crushes, peer pressure, and the plethora of unwritten social rules, make sure your home is the one place where none of that applies.
For the mental wellness of the entire family, your home base should always be safe:
- Learn to give your kids (and partner, while we’re at it) the benefit of the doubt. Let them explain their side of the story before jumping to conclusions. Focus on the why rather than the what—it’s much more effective to address the reason than attack the outcome.
- Explore alternative forms of discipline that get at the root of the issue rather than penalizing honesty (no matter what that honesty uncovers). If your child is acting out beyond your control, consider taking them to a therapist rather than grounding them.
- Implement regular check-ins around the dinner table, where each member of the family shares struggles and triumphs of the day. If everyone participates—yes, mom and dad, that means you—then you’ll be modeling healthy communication and vulnerability for your children. They’ll learn to share rather than feel shame.
#4 Cook Healthy Meals—Together
It’s one thing to eat healthily. It’s another thing altogether to instill long-lasting healthy eating habits in your children.
But it is possible if you empower them to cook healthy meals on their own.
No matter how young your kids are, you can start introducing cooking skills and healthy habits into their daily lives:
- Teach your kids to love fruits and vegetables by incorporating them into their daily meals and snacks early on. Let them have sweets as well, but pair each bedtime or mid-day snack with tasty fresh fruit and incorporate leafy greens and bright reds into meals if you can. As they grow up, they’ll be accustomed to a healthy dietary balance.
- Let your kids pick the meal once a week and “take charge” of the kitchen as head chef (or at least that’s what they’ll think is happening, but you’ll know who’s really in charge).
- As they get a little older, encourage your kids to make family dinner at least once a month. Help them pick out a nutritious recipe and grocery shop with them.
More than high-protein meals or five-mile hikes, your family’s wellness is about the love and support you share for one another. Don’t let yourself forget what’s truly important, even as you make these minor life adjustments.
If it’s causing more headaches than healthiness, it’s not worth it.