Family Matters: Life As A Balancing Act

Life balance is an important concept in occupational therapy. Occupational therapists have much to contribute when speaking with parents and families about life balance and well-being. Many parents know that a balanced life is a healthier one but how do parents begin to teach their children about it? Here are some suggestions built around self-care, school, leisure activities and social engagement.
Exercise and Sleep. Speak to your kiddos about your walk, run or swim, and get them involved even if you aren’t doing the activity together. Talk about how it’s great for your body to be physically active.  Related to exercise is sleep. Teach your children that all our bodies need time to rest. Keep predictable bedtime routines and refer to bedtime as the time to recharge our batteries – for healthy bodies and minds.
Time Management. Time management is a skill that can be done together. Educate your children about time management when they are completing projects, homework, chores and during play time. It will give them a sense of time and responsibility, making sure they aren’t spending too much time doing one thing or over-scheduling themselves.
 Time to Take Care of Self. Teaching your kids the art of setting time aside for taking care of themselves is invaluable. This will come in handy as they get older and enter the work world. Model behaviours like daily grooming, healthy meal preparation, room tidying, alone time and laundry washing.
 Hobbies. Encourage your children to have at least one hobby, something they can partake in between school and other activities they may be involved in. Promote their enthusiasm for that hobby by giving them time each day to enjoy it.
TV Time. Complete house chores or homework before turning on the TVs or electronics. By placing priorities on tasks, you are teaching about balancing activities of daily living and down time. If your family has fallen into the habit of watching too much TV, create a new yard game everyone can play outside.
 Play Time. Our children learn a lot through play so setting time aside for play is crucial when teaching life balance.  Play games as a family, as part of a sports team and in unstructured ways.
Being a parent means making sure your kids’ activities are balanced, fun and promote well-being.  This month, find new ways to establish life balance as a family and enjoy the parenting journey.