Building Healthy Family Habits

Healthy habits start with the family.

Our sense of attachment and worth begins with our family relationships. As a parent, you may be wondering about ways that you as a family can work together to support your children. Below are a few healthy family habits that I recommend families incorporate - especially if they have a child or teen experiencing anxiety, anger management issues, or other outside stressors.

1. Start a Family Tradition

Spend time together with a regular board game night, taco Tuesday, or weekly trip to the movies.

2. Share Down Time

Save time for relaxation at the end of the day, incorporating some family yoga, mindfulness practice, or even just reading a story together at bed time with your younger ones. Make sure that everyone is checking in with and then addressing their stress levels throughout the day. You'll see huge benefits - both with your physical and mental health.

3. Everyone Contributes

Oftentimes, one parent tends to shoulder more of the burden of chores, family organization, and the running of the household. Make sure each member contributes in some way, weather your 4 year old helps with washing the dishes (with lots of supervision!), your teen takes out the garbage, or everyone works together on Saturday mornings for a full house cleaning.

4. Build Resiliency

It's also very healthy to ensure that your children are able to cope with problems independent of you. So if your child recognizes a problem they have at school or with a peer, guide them to a solution without providing it outright. If they have a teacher who seems extra strict, let your child try to cope and figure out a solution, with you jumping in immediately. Your teaching them skills to help them solve problems later on in their life as well.

5. Stay Independent

Make sure that, while you have family together time, every member of the family has their own private part of life as well. Children can join on sports teams without 100% parental supervision, teens can spend after school time with friends instead of you, and parents should share date nights or friend nights. Dinner table conversations becomes a lot more engaging when everyone has their own personal bit of life to contribute.   

Kelsey Torgerson, MSW, LCSW is an anxiety and anger management specialist in St. Louis, Missouri. You can contact her at compassionatecounselingstl@gmail.com with further questions about building up healthy family habits.