Barbara L. Fraser <br> MA, MAT, LPC

Beyond Self-Care: Family Care

May 14, 2015
Posted By: Barbara L. Fraser, MA, MAT, LPCC

Self-care is a vital part of a wellness plan for individuals.  But what about taking care of the family unit?  Spending time to promote healthy family functioning is a critical piece to overall wellness too.  We need to nurture the family unit.  It is important to engage in family-care – be sure to make it a priority. 


As we develop healthy families, we are also helping schools, communities, and our society at large.  Working on family-care is an ideal way to set the foundation for children to be successful adults in the workforce, lead meaningful and productive lives, and be part of caring and trusting relationships outside the family.  Family-care also can enhance marriages and partnerships because spending time together allows for exploring mutual interests and sharing feelings.


Just like setting aside time for routine self-care, a family needs to commit to healthy habits that strengthen the family unit.  The following list of suggested activities will help develop positive interactions, foster effective communication, cultivate a value system, and build strong relationships. 


  • Exercise together – try hiking, biking or taking a family yoga class
  • Make holidays and birthdays special – homemade decorations, gifts and cards come from the heart and will create lasting memories
  • Cook together and try to have one dinner together each week – gather around the table and try this conversation starter: “What made you glad today?  What made you sad today?  And what made you mad today?”
  • Cultivate the arts – visit a museum or attend the theater together
  • Take time to go on an adventure – try family camping or go on a road trip
  • Have a game night – turn off the electronics and have fun with a board game
  • Establish traditions - what does your family do each year that is unique?
  • Share household chores – delegate responsibilities and work as a team
  • Adopt a pet – include a dog or a cat in your family and learn how an animal can decrease stress and provide unconditional love
  • Give back to the community – collectively volunteer in a community service project like working in a local homeless shelter or organizing a toy drive
  • Schedule “mommy dates” and “daddy dates” – be sure to have one-on-one time with your children, no matter what the age   
  • Read a book together – pick a book that several members of the family would like to read and take time to discuss it


I welcome other ideas that strengthen the family unit.  Please email me at:


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