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For many of us, being a homebody is now mandatory. To contain the spread of coronavirus, many states have issued stay-at-home orders for the foreseeable future. That means many families are spending more time together than they normally do.
All that togetherness can present challenges, particularly because everyone is confined and in close quarters with each other. But there’s plenty you can do to make the most of family time together.
Consider that family bonding is an investment in everyone’s health. One study found that having strong social bonds was as important to long-term health as healthy eating and exercise. Here are some ways to strengthen those bonds, right at home.
Create a Routine
To some degree, you can probably adapt what you were doing before to what you need now. But you may need to create some new rituals for the family, too.
If you have school-age children with assignments to complete, designate a specific time to get those done. If you’re working from home, schedule time to work and time that you devote to family. It may be hard to stick to the goals you set for yourself each day, and interruptions will surely come, but the structure’s what counts.
With everyone at home, there are surely plenty of chores to be done. Come together as a family to divvy up the dishwashing, vacuuming and sanitizing. Doing chores together can strengthen family bonds.
Dine as a Family
For starters, make and share meals together when possible. Set family dates for meals together several times a week. The benefits of family meals (with no electronics at the table) are significant, and include not only opportunities for bonding but also a lower risk of obesity and more nutritious food choices. While it’s important every day, eating healthy is especially important now to stay healthy.
When You Feel Annoyed, Let It Go
Most everyone has a bad habit or two, or other personal tics that can get on a parent’s or sibling’s nerves. Now isn’t an ideal time to work on breaking bad habits or building better ones. Instead, take a deep breath and look past it, if it’s truly minor.
Talk About What’s Happening, But Take Breaks From the News
It’s hard to avoid the news right now, and we should all be informed as coronavirus updates happen. Reliable information can help soothe a worried mind, and talking with children in a way they can understand can help ease their worries. But there are times when it’s best to turn the news off.
Avoid talking about the news during mealtimes and other fun family activities. If it comes up, promise to speak with the family member later about their concerns. Instead, focus on humorous videos or other fun distractions that can ease the stress.
Schedule Fun Time as a Family
Do you already have a family game night or other fun activities that your family does together? If not, now’s the time to start. Schedule an evening (or several) to do puzzles, play board or card games, or watch movies as a family. If you’re able to get outside, take a family walk or bike ride.
Take Care of Yourself
There will be times when you need to recharge your batteries. Take time for yourself when you need it. Go for a walk or run (take the dog for some needed exercise, too), or spend a few minutes on your own just breathing and gathering your thoughts.
We’re Here to Help You Stay Healthy
We’re here to help you and your family weather the coronavirus pandemic. Be informed and feel empowered to take care of yourself with the resources on our Coronavirus Resource Hub. Here, we offer important news about coronavirus that can help you and your family stay healthy.