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3 Habits of Healthy Families
It's important to establish healthy habits in the home, not just for you and your spouse, but because the practices your children witness early on will become the standard for the rest of their lives. There may be a temptation to take the easy route, but doing things the right way is well worth the time and effort. Here are three habits of healthy families.
Healthy families eat together
When a family eats together, it affords parents a rare opportunity to share in and influence the lives of their children, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Also, when everyone eats together, parents are given the chance to establish healthy eating habits with their kids. Children tend to emulate their parents' eating choices. So, once they're old enough to buy their own food, they will tend to continue eating healthfully if that's how they grew up.
Healthy families are active together
Family activities, like simple outdoor sports or hiking, are important for several reasons. According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a network of independent health insurance providers, it's crucial for parents to demonstrate to their children the importance of being active. Getting fresh air and exercise is essential for growth and development. Children will come to love being outside and playing sports, instead of just sitting on the couch, watching TV and playing video games. And after sitting behind a desk all day, most parents are in desperate need of outdoor activity themselves. Like dinner time, physical recreation also serves as a time for families to bond.
Healthy families listen to each other
Taking the time to hear what your family members have to say is always important. According to Judy H. Wright, family therapist and author of Building Self-Confidence With Encouraging Words, it is very important to listen to children's opinions and ideas as doing so will help them develop confidence in their own original thoughts and the ability to express themselves. Listening to children and encouraging their independent thought may foster their creative development, though parents should guide their children with experience and wisdom too.
Of course, children aren't the only ones to whom you should listen. It's at least as important to listen to your spouse. Marriages function best when both parties can articulate cares and concerns to each other. The family unit should be an open forum for ideas and thoughts. Each member should be able to express herself freely with respect for others.