by SPARK


A healthy, nurturing, and loving family does notCSH---mother-daughter happen all by itself. It takes a concerted effort from everyone in the household to create a family primed for a long future of growth and good times. Rolling into the New Year is a great time to renew your efforts to build love, participation, and education into every family moment. Make this year the time for nurturing your family environment into the happiest and most healthful it can be.

It’s important to be mindful of your own attitude and habits, as these are the attitudes and habits your children will emulate. Here are 12 ways to create a healthy and happy family in 2012:

  1. Teach love and respect. Treat others with love, respect, and a listening ear, and your children will pick up these habits for themselves.
  2. Be timely and orderly. If you respect household items, the use of money, and pick up after yourself, your children will follow suit. It can be helpful to have the entire family participate in household chores by making it an all-hands affair.
  3. Instill healthy habits through sports. Sports get your kids active, socializing, and learning how to participate and follow rules. Sports can be a great way for parents to get in some leisure activity as well. Adult leagues are cropping up all over as grown-ups revisit the fun of active competition.
  4. Eating healthy starts with healthy grocery shopping. Make a list each week that incorporates all of the food groups, and plan meals ahead of time that use a healthy combination of foods.
  5. Converse in the kitchen. The kitchen is also a great place to teach your children the importance of putting down that laptop, phone, or remote control and taking a break from technology. Kitchens are a great place to interact with your children, hear about their day, instill cooperation habits, and get your children participating in the healthy food choices you are setting out for them. Share at least one meal a day together to ensure that your family touches base at least once for every day of the week.
  6. Encourage interaction. Socialization is one part of growing up that is beginning to become more difficult as technology leaches time away from real verbal and physical interactions; not just for the children, but for adult family members as well. Hosting a game night during the week or one weekend day for outdoor activities such as a trip to the zoo or the beach can get both you and your kids out of the house and into more social settings.
  7. Watch for changes in behavior. Children and adults don’t always come right out and say what’s on their minds. Setting the family down and asking each person if there’s anything particularly bothering them lately, what struggles they are currently facing, or where they could use support is a great way to both touch base and also keep tabs on the health of the entire family.
  8. The power of laughter is a great thing to remember. Trying to insert a little bit of laughter and fun into every day is a great resolution to bring into the coming year. Find the humor in every situation and try not to get bogged down in negativity. Smiles are contagious, and your own fun attitude can lift the spirits of the whole household.
  9. Respect quiet time. An important part of every family is the need of each individual to have their own private time away from each other. As much as many people love to be together, privacy and alone time are important to each person’s feeling of individuality. We all need space and time for ourselves now and then. Realizing this and planning time for it can do wonders for creating a peaceful and grateful home environment.
  10. Encourage arts and entertainment. Sports are important for teaching children about exercise and cooperation, but arts and music are a great way to bring well-roundedness to each family member. Art classes and music can be a wonderful introduction to other interests.
  11. Clearly define family values. Knowing what’s really important to the family can help members make decisions that are on-par with a positive and close-knit family outlook. Making sure that values are well-known and understood can help each family member make healthy family choices.
  12. Make time for relaxation. Down-time helps everyone relax and re-orient themselves.Constantly running around can begin to take a toll on family members. Finding time to sit and relax, read a good book, watch an educational movie together, or simply wind down with good conversation can help everyone de-stress and reinvigorate themselves.

Creating a healthy family begins with love, respect, and participation. Devoting time and effort to making sure each family member has an active voice and responsibility in family choices is a great way to maintain a healthy and happy family unit both in this year, and in those years to come.

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