Family Happiness: Mental Health Tips for Families
Family life can be so busy but it’s important to take the time to prioritise your family happiness by looking after your family’s mental health. Luckily, there are many small things that you can do or adjust in your daily life to help both parents and children enjoy life to the fullest.
Having a schedule that is too busy is stress-inducing. Children don’t need activities after school each day and every weekend. Would you like to have a must-do class/activity after work everyday and every weekend? Narrow down the activities to the ones that your child really loves doing and cancel to rest to free up time in your family calendar to relax and to enjoy together. You don’t need to say yes to every party or event, either. Instead, value your own family time – it is precious and there’s a limited amount each week so make the most of it by being together. Embrace slow living without so much rushing around.
Clutter and mess have a negative impact on many people’s mental health. As a family activity, make an effort to declutter your home and get rid of excess belongings to create a home that is a calm and tidy environment. Once this is done, you will have fewer things to tidy up and look after, which means more time to do fun things together.
Parenting can be very challenging and it’s easy to focus on negative things that happen which is not good for our happiness and mental health. Make an effort to focus on the good things in life, every day. Often, the hard/bad/challenging thing that has happened is only a small moment of a day and that should not ruin the full day. Let the moment pass, let it go, and move on. Don’t hold onto anger and annoyance, as this will just prolong the problem and make you feel unhappy. Instead, look out for all the amazing and positive things that happen every single day and appreciate them. They are what matter.
- Recognise your Family’s Happiness Triggers
All families will have certain environments and activities that they really love. Recognise what these are for your family and try incorporate them into your life often. For my family, this includes spending time in nature, playing outdoors, camping, hiking, listening to music, crafting, playing games or building Lego together and more.
- Time Together, Time Apart
Of course, family time is important for family happiness but it’s also important that everyone gets a chance to do things of their own and that they have their own space. I find that straight after school is often a delicate time where children need a little bit of time to do something calm on their own, before socialising with the family – playing in their room, drawing or reading a book for example. Parents need time on their own too, together and individually. This improves their mental health which impacts the family’s mental health positively. If you have more than one child, it’s important to make time for one-on-one activities with them each week too. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant – it could just be going for a bike ride, building a jigsaw puzzle, reading together or making dinner together, for example.