In the hustle of day-to-day life, taking care of our mental health can easily get lost in the shuffle. Family mental health is incredibly important, especially in times of high stress and change.
4 Ways to Strengthen Your Family’s Mental Health:
- Have healthy and appropriate communication: When families can communicate feelings and feel heard by other family members, they often are happier and healthier within the family unit. Children feel empowered when they are listened to and have control over appropriate situations; children do best when given choices. Families can play games that strengthen communication. Jenga can be a great aid in conversations. Write a question on each Jenga piece, and when a person pulls a piece out of the stack, they must answer the corresponding question. Questions should be whimsical and fun (i.e., if you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?).
- Spend quality time together as a family: Time spent together helps build relationships and respect for members of the home. Mealtime is a great start to creating strong family bonds. Spend your meals discussing how the day went for each family member, share positive experiences, and allow for open dialogue. An empowering mealtime activity is picking a special person of the day and having each family member say one positive thing about that person. The special person will hopefully leave with a sense of empowerment and happiness.
- Hold family fun nights: Family nights do not have to be elaborate, but should focus on being fun! Let the kids pick activities - either together or take turns - for family fun nights. These nights can be as simple as watching a movie, baking, having a game night, or going out for ice cream. Besides having fun, the point of family nights is to create positive memories and grow as a family.
- Check the adult relationships in the home: Positive adult relationships model appropriate behavior to children. Children should always be treated in an age-appropriate manner and be left out of adult issues. All children deserve a happy, healthy home, one that is full of laughter and love. Children thrive under nurturing and understanding caregivers. Positive experiences strengthen a family's overall mental health and relationship.
Families may find themselves needing more support to have positive family mental health and balance, whether that's between the adults in the home or managing a child's behavior. Seeking services from a family therapist can help ensure successful mental health outcomes. A family therapist can help to strengthen relationships, mediate, and offer positive mental health support to every member of your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in building and maintaining a happy and healthy home.
This blog article was contributed Kellyn Morlock, Social Work Supervisor at Nexus-PATH Family Healing, an agency of Nexus Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.