From the moment a baby is born, and sometimes even before, there is a special bond between child and parent. This connection will evolve as the child grows and, as a parent, you want to make sure this evolution is positive. One of the most fulfilling and long-lasting ways to strengthen a family bond is through health and wellness.
All elements of wellness are important; however, developing a family bond with your kids through the physical dimension of health and wellness lays the foundation for a strong relationship. By bonding through wellness, you can show your kids the importance of their health to you and in general.
Showing your kids you care, in this way also helps develop their trust in you. They will feel comfortable coming to you with important life questions like, “What should I look for in a college? Did you have car insurance under your parents? What is a retirement account, and how do I start one?”
These questions may seem a million years away when you’re holding a newborn in your arms, but it is important to strengthen your family bond early so your children feel comfortable coming to you whenever they need to.
Participating in activities that develop the physical side of health and wellness is a great way to start, and there are plenty of things you and your child can do to bond in this way.
Make Healthy Snacks Together
Snack time can be daunting. Your child can’t decide what he or she wants to eat, they don’t like what you give them, or they are so excited to start their next activity that they don’t want to eat a snack (which, of course, they need in order to avoid getting cranky!).
Rather than participating in a situation where one of you is forced to make a decision and the other is frustrated, tackle the problem as a team. When you make snacks together, you both win. Not to mention, you can make healthy choices together to avoid sugary foods.
When you make snack time into an activity, you have the opportunity to introduce your child to healthy foods in a fun way. You can make ants on a log, fun and colorful smoothies, or any nutritious food you feel is important for your child’s diet. They will be more focused on the process of making the snack the more special the family bond.
The excitement your child has about participating in an activity will capture all of their attention. Snack time becomes something to look forward to rather than something to argue over. Best of all, you can do it together, and you will both benefit from a nutritious snack.
Get Out and Play
When I was a kid, my mom used to take me on bike rides after dinner during the summer. It wasn’t necessarily for physical fitness or even to strengthen our relationship, but both of those benefits resulted from that activity.
Those rides got me out of the house, gave me a way to spend time with my mom, and developed a love for biking that led to a job as a cycling instructor.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to take your kid biking and train them for a future job. The important thing is that you and your kids are getting off the couch and being active. If your child is into sports, great! You can help them practice and you’ll have the opportunity to teach them about other important things along the way like how to have fun with hard-work and being a good teammate.
Your kid might not be into sports, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help them be physically active. Playing games like tag or even going swimming can help keep them healthy, and it gives you something fun you can do together.
Plus, you can save some time in the day by doing part of your workout with your kids.
Your child will notice that you’re spending time with them, whether they realize it in the present or the future. This helps shape the way they view you as a parent and person and brings you closer together. Who knows, it might even create some life-long memories for the both of you.
Family Bond Time in Nature
Mental and physical health can often affect each other more than we realize. As adults, stress from work or home life has the ability to cause problems in our bodies by suppressing our immune system which can then cause temporary illnesses or even long-term problems.
We may not realize it, but kids face stress as well, albeit in different ways. School, social factors, or worries over the future can strain their mental health with just as much force as adult stress. Kids are also just as susceptible to the physical reactions and immune suppression caused by stress.
Taking your kids outdoors is a great way to combat stress for all involved. Nature has a way of calming the mind and taking our thoughts away from the worries that we left at home. Something as simple as going for a hike or walking through colorful leaves in the fall can provide an outlet for our minds and keep our bodies healthy in the process.
Bringing your kids outside also gives you both the opportunity to be physically active. Exercise and movement are great for keeping our immune systems healthy and re-charging us when we’re in a funk. There are many activities such as hiking, swimming, or even gardening that can help you and your child reap positive physical benefits while having fun along the way.
Your relationship with your child can even benefit from simply talking about what you see in nature. You have the opportunity to teach your child about animals you see, plants you walk by, or the clouds you see in the sky. Nature has so many elements that you can teach your child about or that you can learn about together.
Whichever way it happens, your child will enjoy and benefit from the experience of sharing these moments together. These moments are something they may look back on in the future, and they will help shape your relationship for the rest of your lives.
A Lifelong Family Bond
There is no single way to create or strengthen a bond with your child. If you ask ten parents how they build a relationship with their kids, you may get ten different answers. With that being said, health and wellness are absolutely areas that can provide a strong foundation for years to come.
When you participate in healthy activities with your children, you are doing more than keeping their healthy; you are showing them you care. Through this, you can let them know you love them without ever even having to say the words.
When the teenage years hit, it can be hard for kids to admit they need their parents but, deep down inside, they know they do. By creating a bond with them from a young age, through health and wellness, you’ll send the message — it doesn’t matter if they are an infant or a teen.
You treasure your relationship and you are there for them. When your kids look back on everything you’ve done to help keep them safe and healthy, they’ll value the relationship as strongly as you do.
We’d love to hear how you bond with your kids and family, and what you think of these wellness-based tips. Leave us a comment below!
Dan Chojnacki writes and researches for CarInsurance.org. He currently trains in Green Bay, WI where he is also a group fitness instructor. In his free time, he enjoys running, swimming, biking, playing tennis, and coaching youth softball