I often get pitches to post on my blog. I've made some great relationships through social media so I always give a quick peruse to anything that has my name right. If you call me Jenna and say you've been reading and love my blog, you're a liar. It's actually a decent system.
I get far fewer pitches and I accept even fewer of those in the last couple of years; this post was written because the folks at Oscar, an New York based health insurance company, had actually read my blog, and were interested in my take on Family Wellness as part of Family Wellness Month; they have a focus on using technology in a variety of ways to support the health and wellness of their insured. Wearing my advocacy hat for a moment--I think it's time for the eating disorder community to reset our relationships with insurers--with a mutual goal of saving us lives and them money. Early diagnosis and prompt aggressive appropriate level-of-care with family training and support saves lives and money.
My first message about family wellness and healthy living is to understand that thin doesn't automatically equal healthy and fat doesn't automatically equal unhealthy. Confused? Poodle Science explains it well.
Internalizing that message will set you on the path to Family Wellness and increased happiness and contentment.
My other recommendations for Family Wellness?
Limit screen time. Do this from day one and do not fall prey to the siren song of a moment's peace. Now, I am not saying don't have TVs or computers or iPads or phones--I'm not a Luddite and I don't want your kids to be either (unless you do, in which case it's unlikely you are reading this blog).
I was lucky to be able to raise my kids in a cul-de-sac in a lovely suburban San Diego community. I had weather on my side. The families around us had the same values regarding childhoods spent in the great outdoors. Plus, I was a stay-at-home-mom. It was clearly a supportive environment in which to stand firm of limited screen time and I recognize my privilege.
And I would still encourage everyone to do their best to do the same on screen time limits.
Two simple rules (one mine, one my neighbor's) made it possible to stay sane(ish) and not have to deal with the dreaded attempted parental wear down (also known as nagging/begging).
Ours was no screens during the week. We recorded shows all week and Sunday night was early dinner and family TV viewing. We had a couple of GameBoys for car rides and as the kids got older we finally got a game system (when our youngest son was about 10) and marathon game sessions on sports-free Saturdays were definitely a thing. Today our four adult children have thanked us for our rules and vowed to do the same (or stricter!).
My neighbor's rule was no TV at all during the school week and no TV during daylight hours on weekends and in the summer.
Another neighbor had no screen restrictions, but the kids were outside with ours all the time anyway so that was a natural limitation there.
Play--with bikes, balls, bats and wheeled contraptions of all type (one year Santa got all the kids in the neighborhood Razor Scooters) was never thought of as exercise and yet movement was constant.
It wasn't just the kids that cavorted either--I play a mean tetherball and game of HORSE. Pickup basketball games with kids on dad's shoulders brought everyone out on summer evenings. Games of catch were a way to stay connected through the teen years.
Nutrition is a hot topic these days and on that my thought is cook at home as much as you can. In the elementary school years I often prepped dinner right after I dropped the kids at school. Don't buy Uncrustables--make your own on Sunday night and put them in the freezer for the dreaded school lunch packing grind. Throw in a cookie or some chips. Probably better not to throw in ten cookies. Hitting fast food occasionally is unlikely to hurt anyone, but seven nights a week not so good. Reserve soda for sit-down restaurants and drink milk or water at home.
Sleep is important; for you and them!
And know that you can do everything "right" and sometimes things will happen anyway--it did for us when our youngest daughter developed anorexia (she is doing fantastically well today). If and when it does, all the above tips will hopefully have you in a place where you have the energy to do what you need to do and the loving relationships that eating together and playing together build. Make sure you put the "Family" in "Family Wellness" and odds are good for things to work out just fine.