Your home is the place where you escape the stresses of the world and spend time in the company of the people you love.
It's a safe oasis, filled with laughter and peace. It's also the place where your children learn about the foundation of family and about themselves.
A healthy family environment is beneficial for everyone in your household and is something you can create by focusing on a few priorities.
Here are 10 tips that you can use to create a healthy environment for your family.
1 - Communication
Good communication is the foundation of healthy family relationships. Speaking, listening, and nonverbal cues like body language all contribute to the respect and rapport you build with family members.
Adopt a positive, solution-oriented mindset. Seek to understand the other person's perspective and be willing to admit when you're wrong.
The goal of communication isn't to convince other people that you're right, but to develop mutual understanding, even if that means agreeing to disagree.
2 - Cooperation
Cooperation is the act of working together towards a mutual goal. If that goal is a tidy living room before family movie night, the movie can start sooner if everyone pitches in to help.
Cooperation is a teamwork skill that benefits your children in many avenues of life, making it one worth teaching when they are young.
Family members who cooperate with each other feel supported and appreciated, making this alliance an important part of a healthy home environment.
3 - Physical Activity
Physical activity is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Walks, bike rides, and soccer in the backyard are just a few of the countless ways to create a culture of fitness in your family.
Build activity time into your schedule, even if it's only once or twice per week. Show your kids that getting up and active is important enough to rate time on the calendar.
4 - Comfortable Spaces
Physical comfort such as curling up with a warm quilt on a cozy natural fabric sectional is the icing on the cake of your healthy and happy home.
The contentment that accompanies comfort allows you and your family members to rest and decompress after a busy day.
Pay attention to simple details like room temperature and lighting. Include houseplants to increase air quality and relieve stress.
5 - Technology Breaks
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that young people's average daily media use is seven hours. The risks associated with too much screen time include disruptions to important developmental experiences like family time, in-person interactions, outdoor play, fine motor growth, and proper sleep.
Monitor the time your kids spend on screens and look for ways to reduce it with other activities. Plan for regular family events, like a weekly board game night.
Help your child find an enjoyable hobby to pursue once they have reached their daily screen time limit.
6 - Family Time
Mealtimes and competing for the bathroom aren't the only ways to interact with family members. Make companionship part of your home environment by including family leisure activities in your week.
These might include card games, movie nights, puzzles, crafts, or scavenger hunts. Whatever the activity, the key component is that it's tailored for togetherness.
7 - Tidiness and Cleanliness
Clutter is more than an eyesore. It can interfere with sleep and focus and trigger coping strategies like junk food consumption and too much TV time. Clutter also collects dust and can interfere with your cleaning routine.
If you've been too busy to tackle the accumulation of items in your home, now is your chance to engage family members in a cooperative effort to create tidy, uncluttered spaces.
8 - Gratitude
Practicing gratitude has tangible mental health benefits such as improvements to mood, increased optimism, and strengthened social bonds. Gratitude, much like meditation, is a skill you can practice and teach your children.
It starts with your choice to override frustrations and challenges with positive thoughts. Take a moment each day to think of one thing you're grateful for and share this practice with your family members.
9 - Nutrition
Model healthy eating for your family. Reduce the amount of processed, sugary foods in your pantry and replace them with healthier options.
Provide healthy snack choices like nuts and fruit, and mute TV commercials that advertise enticing treats. Involve your kids in healthy meal makeovers by asking for their input and involving them in food prep at a safe, age-appropriate level.
10 - Sleep Hygiene
The long list of benefits from proper sleep includes improvements to immune function, memory, learning, and metabolism. However, it's difficult to sleep when your environment is disruptive. It's important to foster good family sleep habits, also known as sleep hygiene.
Create a consistent routine with regular waking and bedtimes and avoid the temptation to sleep late on weekends.
Ensure that bedrooms are dark, quiet, and cool in temperature. Incorporate physical activity into your day, and avoid large meals close to bedtime. Enforce screen cut-off times, and remove devices from bedrooms.
A healthy family environment at home is important enough to prioritize, even if life feels too overwhelming for a project.
Choose one area of focus to start and build from there. The more positive changes you make, the easier it will become until your home is the harmonious place you've always envisioned.