Doing activities together is one of the best ways to promote unity and wellness within the family. Whether it be playing board games, eating a sit-down meal or going on outings, it’s these memories that will stay in a child’s mind and provide a foundation for healthy living. However, it can be difficult sometimes to make family activity happen. Here are a few ways to make it something that everyone will look forward to.
Spend Time Outside
Playing is a need that is ingrained in everyone, both children and adults. It releases stress and anxiety, uses excess energy constructively and promotes a number of other wellness factors. Spending time outdoors can mean practically anything, too, from taking walks or bike rides together through the neighborhood to shooting hoops to drawing with sidewalk chalk. To make this activity a priority, set aside time in your week specifically for outdoor family time. You’ll likely find that the kids begin to look forward to it!
Limit Screen Time
Tied into playing outdoors in many ways, limiting screen time is essential for healthy childhood growth. One or two hours a day is usually plenty, though many children get more than twice that amount. Watching TV or playing video games may be fun, but excessive exposure to digital screens can actually harm your children’s growth and development, such as making them more easily distractible and less able to focus. This is not to say that screen time should be cut out, but it should be regulated closely, or even offered as a reward for getting homework or chores done. It’s also a good idea to keep all screens, whether they be TVs, computers or mobile devices, out of your children’s rooms.
Focus on Activity-Based Toys
Seek out toys that will encourage your children to get active. Find a basketball goal or a volleyball net in a local park and commit to playing together. Invest in bicycles, skateboards, balls and jump ropes, and encourage your children to learn how to use them in fun and challenging ways. If your kids are into electronics or building, find something they can put together and use outside, like a remote-controlled toy.
Encourage Recreational Activities
If your children are into sports, get them involved in a local rec league or school team sport that interests them. You can encourage this by volunteering to help out with the games and practices, and going to see your kids play. Sports teach teamwork, dedication and personal responsibility, and while you may not be directly involved, showing your support however you can will encourage your children to give it their all.
Plant a Garden
Many people who enjoy growing plants and food swear by “dirt therapy” as a way to ease stress and get back in tune with their surroundings. So get the family involved in planting seeds, tending them and watching them grow into vegetables, fruits and berries. Or, volunteer in your neighborhood’s community garden. Then everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labor when the produce is ripe by putting them into a family meal or giving them as gifts.
Find Fun Ways to Do Chores
Getting children to do chores is important, though it may be difficult to incentivize them. But there are ways to improve the situation. Divvy up tasks among family members, then put on some fun music to get things started. If your family members are competitive, make it a friendly game by splitting into teams and offering small prizes like getting to decide where to go out to eat next time.
Hopefully you’ll find in encouraging these activities that your family is happier and healthier and feels less pressure and stress. Getting into these habits will not only keep your dynamic strong, but will also help your kids be more confident, friendly to others and socially active. If you have any questions about family health and wellness, feel free to give us a call!