Skip to content

Health & Balance

Good-Life Activities for Your Family

Make time for the good life together.
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

You may have heard it on the news or morning talk shows: Have dinner together as a family often. There’s even a national initiative, Family Day, that reminds parents “what your kids really want at the dinner table is you.”

Studies have found that kids who have frequent family dinners are less likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

How Giving Love Makes You Feel Loved

By Gretchen Rubin When our two daughters were little, they'd greet my husband and me with wild enthusiasm whenever we walked in the door, and they often cried miserably when we left. More recently, however, they had sometimes barely looked up from their games or homework or books when we walked in or out. It was a relief, in a way, but also a little sad. And too often, my husband and I didn't give warm greetings or farewells to the girls or to each other, either. I had already made a long-standing...

Read the How Giving Love Makes You Feel Loved article > >

But it’s not just about the food, say experts: it’s about the connection. Whether you’re eating dinner, going for a nature walk, or holding a family karaoke night, spending time together builds healthy families and healthy kids.

“If you grew up in a healthy family that did these things, it makes intuitive sense to you: this is what glues families together,” says Meg Cox, author of The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays & Everyday. “It’s about a sense of connection, of being loved, a sense of identity and security that runs very deep.”

What family activities can you do with your kids to build those essential connections? The sky’s the limit! To get started with some fun family activities, try these tips from Cox and Lawrence Cohen, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of Playful Parenting.

Family Fun With Food

Play “conversation in a jar" (or basket, or bin). Keep a container on the dinner table with blank slips of paper, and whenever you think of a cool question, write it down and toss it in. Some examples from Cox: “What’s something you can do better than your parents?” “If there were a holiday named after you, how would people celebrate it?” “Make up a nickname for everyone at the table -- nothing mean!” Once a week, use some of the questions in the basket to spark conversations at dinner.

Shake it up. Every so often, have a wacky family dinner night. “Sometimes we’ll eat with the big serving utensils, use serving platters instead of plates, and drink out of big pitchers instead of cups,” says Cohen. Or you can put food coloring in everything and make goofy food. Or just serve dinner as a picnic, on a blanket in the living room or playroom.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
 
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
 
jet plane landing at sunset
Slideshow
poinsettias
Quiz
 
Hungover man
Slideshow
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Slideshow
 
Woman worn out on couch
Article
Happy and sad faces
Quiz
 
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
Article
laughing family
Quiz