Family Bonding: How Holidays Can Encourage Emotional Health

Written by Julie Paiva, CHHC


When asked what people like best about Thanksgiving, it seems family time wins out over the turkey dinner, pumpkin pie and football.  Spending time with your loved ones is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  Nobody knows you like your family and friends, and your time with them should be a source of comfort.  Most families are not perfect, but these important bonds can help get you through tough times in your life.  Families are something to celebrate and to be grateful for especially on Thanksgiving.  However, family time can easily get forgotten in the hustle and bustle of preparing for holiday celebrations.  Here are some reasons to prioritize family time this holiday season.


Strengthens Family Bonds


They don’t have to be costly or elaborate activities. Just spending time together makes everyone in the family feel more emotionally connected. Board games, puzzles, movies, and talent shows are all fun ideas for quality indoor family time during the cold autumn and winter months. If the weather happens to be nice, you could enjoy yard activities like throwing the football or kicking the soccer ball. (Bonus: this is also a great way to burn off some of those excess holiday calories!)


Helps Kids Develop Future Parenting and Interpersonal Skills


Kids learn by example. Siblings, in fact, often treat each other the way that their parents treat them. If your children aren’t treating each other with respect and love, it may be time to evaluate how much quality time you are spending with them. Not to say family time can prevent all sibling rivalry, but it can help bring peace to the home. Engaging with your children beyond everyday interaction will foster their emotional development, so they will learn how to properly interact with others and in turn grow into nurturing adults. . Teaching them that family time is important, especially on holidays, not only benefits the here and now but will create a legacy of strong families.1


Lessens Behavioral Problems


Kids who spend more quality time with their parents tend to behave better. Communication is the key to solving problems.  The more undivided attention you spend with your children, the more time you spend communicating with them. This two way communication helps children develop coping and stress management skills by giving them the opportunity to discuss their thoughts, worries, fears, joys, and the like while allowing for parents to provide wisdom, advice, and encouragement in return.2


Promotes Happiness and Self-Confidence


Our families are critical in developing a sense of belonging.  Feeling like you belong can lead to a happier child or even adult for that matter.  When we feel like we belong, we feel cared for and loved. By taking time to engage in family activities, we are taking care of ourselves and the children that are following our example. The stresses of everyday life are more bearable when we know we have family that will always have our back.


Ultimately Leads to Successful, Well-Adjusted Children and Adults


A positive family environment allows individuals to blossom instead of worry. It is much easier to reach your potential when you are surrounded by a safe and supportive family. Holidays provide the perfect opportunity to connect with our family members as long as we are purposeful in prioritizing quality time amongst the sometimes chaotic schedules. This may mean letting the dishes sit in the sink a few hours or the laundry pile up a bit. In the long run, we will be grateful we made these small sacrifices so that we could make memories that last a lifetime.


When you think about your favorite Thanksgiving memories, they most likely involve the people that you cherish most in your life.  Give your children and your relatives those special memories by spending as much quality time with them as you can this Thanksgiving.  The benefits go well beyond the fun that is had for the day.  Fill your heart with gratitude, happiness and special memories by making the most of your time with your family this holiday season.

Julie Paiva
Julie Paiva
Julie is a nutritional counselor with a degree in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Science from Southern Connecticut State University. She has been giving one-on-one coaching sessions ever since earning her degree in 2013 and is passionate about helping others implement a holistic lifestyle!

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