If you have school-aged children in your home, chances are that they have already gotten out or will be getting out of school in the next week. Let’s say it together: “Summer break!” Whether the young people in your life are attending camp, going to summer school, working, or relaxing at home or with family, they are looking forward to this well-deserved break. But don’t forget–summer is a great time for family fun and fellowship! No matter whether you’re vacationing or “staycationing,” attending family reunions, going to (or being in!) a wedding, participating in sporting events, or doing your favorite thing to stay cool, summer gives us a chance to relax some of our routines. Whether your children, grandchildren, or other beloved youngsters are going back to school in a few weeks or will have the whole summer off, now is a great time to be intentional about enhancing wellness by spending more time together as a family.
If you’re hoping to maximize times of enjoyment and minimize negative attitudes and disagreements, it can help to have a family conversation about your plans so that everyone can have input. Ask what each family member likes the most about summer, needs the most, and wants the most during the summer months. To increase the chances that each person will reach at least one of his/her goals, try developing a calendar of events. Rather than merely hoping that these goals will be achieved, this strategy will likely assist each family member in gaining at least one success, thereby raising both personal and family levels of satisfaction.
Just as with individuals, there are many facets of wellness for families. Families thrive when they give attention to emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, and social wellness. Here are some other suggestions for fostering wellness in your family:
Family Emotional Wellness
Schedule family meetings that include business and fun!
Recognize differences in how family members process information and express feelings
Ensure that each family member needs “down time”
Family Spiritual Wellness
Discuss what spiritual values mean the most to the family
Spend time together (and apart) in spiritual activities
Journal about what inspires you and your family to be better
Family Physical Wellness
Maintain any existing fitness routines
Set a concrete goal for what your fitness plan will look like
Try a new fitness activity together
Family Financial Wellness
Create new ways to raise vacation money
Find new ways to save money/cut expenses
Give each family member a part of the budget to be responsible for
Family Social Wellness
Call, write, or visit a family member with whom you’ve fallen out of touch
Initiate a play date or shared meal with another family whose company you enjoy
Extend hospitality to a stranger, particularly to someone who is in need
In a time when families are increasingly fragmented and alienated from each other, these strategies can help pull your family closer together. In fact, these strategies can help strengthen family ties throughout the summer. Why not try one or two of these ideas with your family? And feel free to share experiences about what has worked best for your family in the past. You just might inspire others to try something new!
À votre santé (“To your health”),