If you are like most people, you go about life happily selfish and doing whatever you need to do to be happy. Perfectly understandable until you get married and add some kids into the mix.
All of a sudden, you become responsible for the happiness of many other people. While it isn’t a Herculean task, raising a healthy and happy family is not as easy as it might seem. The following are 7 tips to help you along.
1. Eat Well
Your family’s diet goes a long way in ensuring more than just nourishment and satiety.
Eating good, healthy food ensures your family has the energy required to get on with their day, whether this is work or school. Our health is also related to the kind of food we consume.
Over processed foods, for example, tend to be fatty, too salty, or too sugary. Excessive intake of these substances is associated with numerous health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart diseases, and even cancer.
Avoid these and instead opt to buy organic ingredients to prepare meals for your loved ones. Also, shop for healthy snacks such as Greek yogurt, fruits, roasted chickpeas, etc. to chew on between mealtime.
2. Mind Their Health
It’s recommended to get routine medical check-ups every three years if you are younger than 50 years old, and annually after 50. Doing this for your family ensures that any health concerns are caught early.
For most diseases, more so those considered serious or chronic, early diagnosis allows early intervention and better outcomes. It is also important to have health problems checked out as soon as they pop up. This is something most people often ignore because of the associated medical costs.
Getting medical insurance can help ease this concern and ensure that you and your family get required medical help without denting your finances.
Compare a few health insurance providers to find the best package for your family.
3. Build an Emergency Kitty
Most Australians wouldn’t afford to cover a $1000 emergency. This means that if a financial emergency were to come up, the only option would be to take on credit or sell off a few assets.
Obviously, it’s better to have an emergency fund to cushion your family against eventualities.
When it comes to savings, the rule of thumb is to have at least six months’ worth of your living expenses saved up. This includes what you would pay in rent in your current residence.
Besides having a safety net, having an emergency fund means you and your spouse will have peace of mind and will be more relaxed. Children feed off their parents’ energy. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your children will be.
4. Work on Your Marriage
A good number of marriages end in divorce. Research has shown that divorce affects every member of the family, often negatively. While it’s inevitable in some cases, there are things you can do to prevent one and protect the family unit.
Small things such as spending time with your partner, small selfless acts, good communication, and getting counseling can go a long way towards this. Keeping the romance alive in your marriage is another way to ensure that your spouse and you keep enjoying a loving, intimate married life.
If it becomes clear that a marriage cannot be salvaged, then the next best thing is to find a co-parenting system that maintains the family unit’s integrity.
5. Spend Quality Family Time
As work and school schedules become busier and busier, it increasingly becomes a struggle for families to spend quality time together.
Technology has also created a significant distraction. You have to make a conscious effort to ensure that you spend meaningful family time. Without this, you will have the typical digital age scenario where you are in the same house, but no one is available for the other.
Make it a point to have at least one day out of the week to spend quality family time. This does not necessarily mean taking expensive vacations. You can cook together, play indoor games, go to the park, make popcorn and watch movies, and so on.
Your only goal should be to be together, have family conversations, and have fun together.
6. Celebrate Small Wins
People often make the mistake of ignoring small wins. When this happens, your kids especially can feel too pressured to perform, or even inadequate.
Celebrating little wins is one way to affirm your kid’s efforts and incentivize them to work harder or keep up the good behavior. It makes them feel accomplished, appreciated, and in turn, happy.
There is a science to this, by the way. When you accomplish something, the reward center in your brain is activated. This results in a feeling of pride. This happens because the hormone dopamine is released, filling you up with feel-good emotions.
Celebrating small wins can also be a source of motivation to be more positive about life. In a world which is so uncertain, every moment calls for a celebration.
7. Teach Healthy Habits
Working out and sleeping well are two healthy habits you can teach your kids that will serve them for life.
Have a bedtime routine that includes eliminating all over stimulating activities and a consistent bedtime. These can go a long way in encouraging a good night’s sleep. It is no secret that sleep deprivation has been linked to depression, weight issues, loss of productivity, and lowered immunity.
You might also want to encourage exercises such as jogging and other physical exercises. Other than promoting good health, working out triggers the body to release feel-good hormones, which elevate one’s mood.
Make It Consistent
All these efforts are most effective when they are implemented consistently. Like any new habit, it will take a while for these to become second nature. For your family’s benefit, keep at it for a few weeks no matter what else is going on. In time, they will become a way of life.