Updated: Jul 22
There are MANY habits of healthy families, but today five habits will be highlighted. Healthy relationships don’t just happen by chance. They are nurtured and protected for them to flourish. If you want your family to be happy and healthy, you can take steps to incorporate habits that will create an environment for your family to thrive.
Habit 1: Model Healthy Communication
Kids are not likely to do what you say, but they will do what you do. Do you want them to talk calmly? Make sure you don’t set the example of yelling. Do you want them to be open and honest? Show them what that looks like and make unspoken rules that it is not only safe to do so, but it is normal. Do you want your kids to take responsibility when they are wrong? Show them how to apologize and accept responsibility when you mess up. Show them what healthy conflict resolution looks like.
Kids are more perceptive than most people realize. They pick up on BS quickly. When you act like all is well when you are falling apart inside, they recognize it. When you put on a smile and fake it to make everything look good, it typically will trigger a sense of anxiety in them, as they will know something is not right. Your best bet is, be honest. If you are not feeling well or having a rough day, just let them know. Kids respect and appreciate honesty.
Healthy communication is one of the most important aspects of a good marriage. You can have everything else going well, but poor communication can ruin everything. Learning to truly tune in and listen to understand can make a huge difference.
Habit 2: Everyone Contributes
If one person is carrying the workload for the whole family, the family will be out of balance. Each person contributes to the mess needs of the family, so everyone should be involved in the work to keep the family moving. Depending on the age and workload outside of the home, each role may look different. The goal is for every member of the family to feel responsible to contribute and help one another.
Pro tip: Teach little ones to clean up after themselves. When they grow up knowing it is expected, it will make life easier for everyone! Many parents feel their child is too young to clean up. However, toddlers are quite capable. They will then grow up with a personal sense of responsibility rather than depending on others to do things for them.
Related Post: A Roadmap to Parenting
Habit 3: Eat at Least One Meal Together Every Day
As children grow and get busy with activities, it can be difficult to get everyone together. But, they do want to eat! Being intentional about getting everyone together and discussing their day is a way to connect and spend time as a family daily. Besides discussing daily events, many things happen around the table. Manners are taught, communication skills are modeled, and it sends a message that each member is important and valued.
Drawing children in during preparing the food can also be a way to connect. It can be instructional time to help children learn basic living skills, but it can also provide an opportunity for connection. There is something about getting a child’s hands busy to get their defenses low so they will talk more openly about what is on their heart.
Habit 4: Support the Interests of One Another
Do you have a kiddo who loves to play soccer? Be there. Show up to the games, encourage and cheer as they give it their best shot. It is also important for siblings to show up and show support as well. Children will typically rise to the expectations set before them. When they are expected to support one another, they likely will. However, if the expectation is not made, it usually will not happen by chance.
Some kids tend to be more demanding of attention than others. Be deliberate about showing attention to the interests of all of the kids, not just those who share your interests. Believing in your children sets them up for success. It is incredible what kids can do when supported!
This is not just about children, though. It is just as vital to support your spouse. It shows that you care and are engaged when you engage in what matters to them. You should always be your spouse’s number-one cheerleader.
Habit 5: Instill Your Beliefs and Values in Your Children
What are the foundational beliefs of your family? What kind of character do you want to see in your kids? These things don’t just mysteriously appear. They must be taught over and over. These may be cultural traditions, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or simply manners you want your children to have. Taking time each day to communicate with your kids, share your stories, and highlight the value of these beliefs will help create rich soil in the hearts of your young ones. When you live out these beliefs and values, your children are likely to accept and adopt them as their own.
Life is what you make of it. If you want to have a healthy family, you will need to start habits that will create a healthy environment for your family to grow and thrive. Start with one habit at a time and over time you will see a stark difference. Don't get discouraged when there are setbacks. Every family has setbacks! Just keep pressing on.