Focusing on Family Health
Focusing on your family’s health can create a warm and close-knit environment for your children. Mentalhealth.net states that healthy families are attuned to each other’s needs, repair damage to relationships, encourage emotions, and build each other up. It’s also essential to know and understand your family’s health history. Understanding the patterns of disorders or diseases among family members can help determine if you or your children could be at risk of developing similar ailments. When you take steps to get healthy as a family, you’ll set the foundation for lifelong beneficial habits and reduce the overall risk of future health issues.
The Mental Health Impact
A 2021 study found that 1 in 14 children have a caregiver with poor mental health. According to the CDC, mentally healthy children are more likely to have a positive quality of life and are more likely to function well at home and in school. A child’s development depends on their parents or caregivers, who serve as the first sources of love and support in their lives. The mental health of parents and children is intertwined. Parents who have mental health problems may have more difficulty providing care for their children, especially if they lack resources and support for their issues. Children may also have inherited vulnerabilities from watching, absorbing, and feeling their parent’s experiences.
The CDC offers some positive parenting tips to help parents learn more about their child’s development, positive parenting, safety, and health at each stage of their child’s life. They also highlight How Right Now, a CDC-funded web campaign that helps parents and other adults with mental health concerns in times of distress.
The Family Tree
You may be thinking, “Why is it important to know my family health history?” MedlinePlus explains that a family health history can identify people with a higher-than-usual chance of having common disorders like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. A family health history can also provide information about the risk of rarer conditions caused by mutations in a single gene. Please note that having a relative with a disease does not mean you or your other family members will develop that condition. It’s important to know your family health history to be proactive and prepared if you notice any issues.
Discuss your family health history with relatives. Collecting medical records and other documents such as death certificates to help complete the family health history is very important. If someone is adopted or estranged from their families, Dignity Health recommends talking to your healthcare provider about the potential benefits of genomic testing. Be sure to share this information with your healthcare provider so they can help you develop a comprehensive care plan that anticipates the unique needs of you and your family.
Fun Tips to Keep Your Family Healthy
You can do many things to get healthy as a whole family. Healthy habits can help your family members maintain an ideal weight, improve moods, get better sleep at night, and more. See some suggestions below from eehealth.org:
- Set up a family fitness challenge – Challenge your spouse or kids to a push-up challenge. Make an obstacle course throughout your house or in the backyard. Sign up for a Fun Run together. Create charts to track your goal and reward everyone with prizes when someone achieves a goal.
- Practice good sleep hygiene – Quality sleep is vital to your overall health. Make the bedrooms in your house sleep-friendly, and make sure everyone sticks to a regular sleep schedule.
- Take technology breaks before bed – The whole family uses screens throughout the day. Whether it’s computers for work, phones for communication, or video games for the kids, screen time is endless. Make a rule to turn off electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime, so everyone has time to wind down and relax before bed.
- Schedule regular health appointments – You most likely schedule appointments for your children, but don’t forget to schedule those appointments for yourself. Schedule regular preventative care screenings that doctors recommend for you or your family.
Keeping your family healthy will set the foundation for lifelong beneficial habits and well-being.
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