If you have never heard of National Family Wellness Month, you’re not alone. It’s one of those celebrations that comes up when you Google “May Celebrations.” But now that we know about it, we’d like to help you plan the next four weeks!
Without Merriam-Webster to guide us, we need to generate our own definition of family wellness. Can we agree that it’s the physical and emotional health of family members inclusive of all ages, abilities, and gender identities? And that National Family Health Month is about finding ways to promote healthy habits within families?
Here is a list of 10 ideas to help you celebrate. You might want to put this list in the order in which you think would be best for achieving wellness in your very own family.
1) Play – The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken an active role in promoting healthy development by giving out prescriptions for play at wellness checkups. They define play as open-ended, child-led, discovery-based activities which are predominately screen-free. This healthy kind of play charges the imagination and activates the brain. Dig out the toys that are not battery-operated, find the games that are collecting dust, and reintroduce the outdoor activities that you played as a child that required nothing more than chalk for a hopscotch board, a ball, a stick, or trees to hide behind!
2) Laugh – Find your family’s funny bone. What makes you laugh out loud? It could be a simple game of whisper down the lane, a favorite television show (even educators approve of screen time during pandemics 😊) or knock-knock jokes. Whatever it is – do it often!
3) Create a Meal – If sharing the kitchen with family members scares you, take heart. A family cooking project need not have you all standing around the kitchen together. Assign times and roles for menu planning, prepping, assembling, cooking, and serving in advance and come together to enjoy the meal.
4) Dance – This is not everyone’s cup of tea. But any good dance party needs a DJ, a photographer, and a stylist. So, if you don’t want to dance your heart out, try to find another way to join in for a shared family activity.
5) Eat – Not just anything. Make it a family goal to eat something healthy that you’ve never tried before. Keep trying throughout the month until you find something new to add to your weekly meal planning.
6) Sleep – This can take any form. Sleeping can be a great way to promote health within your family. Agree on a sleep late day, a nap day, or a go to bed early night! Extra sleep supports well-being for your body and your mind.
7) Dream – As a family, what do you dream about? Create a vision board with magazine pictures or drawings of experiences that you’d like to enjoy together as a family. Once it’s a vision, it’s a step closer to happening.
8) Debate – A good healthy debate might be just what your family needs. Think of an issue that dogs your family; it might be something that leads to constant stress and annoyance. Maybe it’s the argument over who takes the trash out or the rule that you must finish all your vegetables before dessert. Pick an issue and set up a mock debate stage. Create teams. Plan your strategy. Do your research. May the best argument win!
9) Chill – This would be first on my list of how to celebrate National Family Wellness Month. Plan one day a week during the month to just be. Hang out. Wear comfy clothes. For some family members, chilling requires a device. That’s fine. The only rule is that you should all be chilling in the same room
10) Free Choice –You earned it. Find time to do something just for you because family wellness should always include time for self-nurturing.
And if all goes well, you’ll be looking forward to next May when you can celebrate all over again or better yet, you’ll pick up some family habits that sustain you all year long!