Family life is a wild and crazy ride, but there are many ways to make the moments count––even during the chaos. Adding totally achievable daily habits to your clan’s routine can make your entire household happier and healthier as individuals and as a unit. Whether you share a long hug, belly laugh at a joke together or team up to tidy the living room, read on for 10 things you can do as a family on a daily basis that will make a world of difference.

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1. HUG, kiss, cuddle, repeat. A good, long hug has more power than we realize. Studies show that hugs from a trusted loved one can boost oxytocin and serotonin levels, relax muscles, strengthen immunity and decrease stress and anxiety among many other benefits. Just think of all those healing, restorative powers you have in your very own arms.

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2. Read. Reading with your kids fosters language development, expands their imagination and worldview and provides a bonding experience that’s both fun and educational. Read bedtime stories daily, and consider adding a weekly trip to the library to your routine to keep your book rotation fresh. Bonus: kids who love to read will never be “bored.” There are so many worlds to visit!

3. Have an Attitude of Gratitude. Let your little ones overhear you being thankful and recognizing your blessings throughout the day so they learn to approach life the same way. You can also place a jar on your dining room table, and have everyone in the family jot down things they’re thankful for on folded scraps of paper once or twice a day––then read the contributions together at week’s end. Check out our other favorite ways to teach gratitude by clicking here.

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4. Laugh, get silly, be cheerful. Laughter really is the best medicine. You may not have time in a busy day to sit down for an extended play session with your kiddo, but there’s always time to laugh and be silly. Keep a book of jokes for kids to read aloud in the car while you’re driving, tell them a funny story from your childhood while waiting to buy groceries, watch your favorite comedic sitcom or movie together on the weekend. Make laughter and lightheartedness a priority in your home to help alleviate the seriousness of the world we live in.

5. Exercise. Even if your kids don’t play after-school sports and you don’t have a gym membership, you can still find plenty of ways to get moving as a family. Stroll to school or walk the dog together after dinner, ride bikes, shoot some hoops, kick a soccer ball in the yard, have a game of chase, race each other up the block, jump on an indoor hopscotch mat or have a dance party inside.

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6. Appreciate nature. Turns out that taking time to stop and smell the roses and revel in nature can make you happier and healthier while reducing stress. Google the bird you saw land in your neighbor’s tree to see what it’s called, finally get a name for that plant growing in the front yard, watch ants carry a crumb. These small gestures will add up to your kiddo’s respect and reverence for the fragile planet we inhabit.

7. Eat a meal or snack together. Whether it’s breakfast, dinner or an after-school snack, be present together at mealtime. Brush up on some alternative questions to how was your day? Use breaking bread together as a pause button on the outside world to just focus on each other—even if it’s for the length of time it takes to eat a granola bar.

8. Learn something new. Reward your kids’ inherent curiosity by teaching them something new every day. Get your wordsmith a vocabulary word of the day calendar, teach your tool-loving tot what a screwdriver does, let eager kitchen helpers measure and mix to create a meal. Be an open book—as parents, we have so much knowledge we take for granted that our young ones would love to learn.

photo: Frank McKenna via Unsplash

9. Listen to music. The more, the merrier. Turn on the tunes in the car or while making dinner, sing in the shower, play classical notes during study hour––incorporate music into your daily life to really tune in to the present moment. Scientists have determined countless ways music is beneficial to humans, no matter their age. Among them: mood elevation, verbal intelligence, and improved sleep. Rock on!

10. Pitch in as a team to complete chores. No one has time for a big daily house cleaning, but everyone in the family can make a group effort to keep your casa tidy each day. Set a 5 or 10-minute timer and see who can clear the most clutter out of the living room or off the kitchen table and put it where it belongs. Kids are completely capable of doing a quick dry mop of the hallway or kitchen floor, vacuuming the living room or unloading the dishes. Having a stake in keeping the house clean may make them think twice before missing the hamper next time. Read here for more chores your kids should be doing by age 10.

What’s one thing you do as a family every day? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

—Beth Shea

 

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