When Raising Great Families, 
Relationships Need Nurturing

The mental well being of everyone in your family is crucial to happiness. Raising great families means paying attention to emotional and mental health as well as physical health.

Recent studies have shown a dramatic rise in the incidence of mental health issues among children and teens. Anorexia, depression and self harm are on the rise while some unexpected children are showing signs similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) more usually seen in children who have lived in war zones. 

This is dramatic but thought provoking.  We are all so caught up in our worlds of keeping up, making sure we do every activity and no-one misses an opportunity that our children's mental health is in danger. We think we are doing our best at raising great families but most of the time we don’t even notice until the problem becomes critical - when was the last time you really spent time WITH the kids both mentally and physically? (I often used to find myself listing my to do’s when I was supposed to be paying attention).

It may be worth spend some time connecting with your family . This will hopefully lead on to you seeing how they are all really feeling (and vica versa). Try any one (or all!) of these 3 simple ideas to start you off.

   3 Simple Ideas

  1. Spend a whole day with no other committments
  2. Have a 'Yes' day
  3. Start (and stick with) a fun regular routine

3 Simple Ideas For Improving Family Relationships: The Details:

  1. Think about when you last had a day with no commitments, no anything to do and when you last just spent time as a family? Can’t remember? Try seeing if you can clear your schedule so that you have a full day/half a day/evening when it is just you and your family. Resist the siren call of the screen (put your phones down!). Find a board game to play, go for a long walk, visit the library or go for a swim - try to enjoy it!
  2. Try having a yes day/yes afternoon when, within reason (maybe put a few monetary constraints in place!), you just say yes to whatever your kids ask for. It is surprisingly liberating as a parent because you don’t have to keep saying no all the time…..pancakes for dinner? yes! play a game with me? yes chocolate for snack? yes! All the rules go out of the window and you just have fun. I often suggest a bit of fruit or veg with the foods they want and they choose surprising wisely!
  3. Instigate a routine once per week of something fun that (in time) will become a family ritual. It could be a certain type of meal eg pizza every Thursday or a roast on a Sunday or an activity (as a kid I went swimming every Sunday afternoon) - with everyone expected to attend!
A stress free child enjoying a yes day!A running, jumping 'Yes' day!

For our family routine we have chosen to have a movie night every Friday with a favourite meal. We all sit down together and watch a movie (which we take it in turns to choose from a pot we’ve made of family friendly movies). This is the only time our family really sits to watch TV and it’s a time the kids really look forward to. We then finish with a favourite meal (currently fish and chips!). I hope over the years it will continue to draw the kids in and encourage them to reconnect even when the world outside is far more exciting!

 TOP TIP FOR RAISING GREAT FAMILIES: READ THIS BOOK!

One of my favourite books for building relationships is:

'How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk*' by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Whatever age your kids are, you'll benefit from reading, I promise :-)


Hopefully these 3 simple ideas for raising great families by improving your relationships well help your family connect. Good luck and let us know how you get on! xx

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