What is your definition of a family? Does it include parents, children, and other relatives, or is your definition one that emphasizes the emotional aspect of relationships? There are many ways to define a family, but they all have one common idea: caring. It’s the small things you do on a regular basis that count the most when faced with stress and conflict. Whether family means something emotional or physical, a strong and healthy family gives its members the support they need to make it through life’s difficulties.

If you and your significant other decide to bring children into your lives, it is important to have an open and loving relationship with them from the start. Build a judgment-free environment where children are free to discuss any topic of concern. Allow children to talk about what they like to do and their feelings. This will help build trust and form a cohesive family unit.

In addition to communication, physical health also plays a huge role in building strong families. Children and parents alike should eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables with reasonable portion sizes. Make meal time family time! It can be a great way to create structure and bring the family together at the end of the day.

Did You Know?

  • Building better relationships involves all generations – grandparents, parents, and children.
  • Family routines and rituals are powerful organizers of family life that add stability during times of stress and transition.
  • Research demonstrates that regular religious practice is a predictor of family stability.
  • Children who are breastfed have a 22% lower risk of becoming obese.

Tips for Investing in Your Family

  1. Make time to listen thoughtfully to your loved ones. Be careful not to jump in with your opinion too quickly.
  2. Schedule time alone with each of your children. Let them decide how they want to spend this special time with you.
  3. Make a date with your spouse. Plan something special like you did when you were dating.
  4. Create a special hand signal that means “I love you” to your family. Use it often.
  5. Have a family movie night once a week. Rent a video, pop some popcorn, and enjoy the time together.
  6. Never underestimate the power of a hug!

Sources: Harvard University, Let’s Move, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.