Outreach: Family Wellness

Shot of a family of four cooking together in their kitchen at home

The long-awaited easy, breezy summer season is upon us. This time of year provides an opportunity for families to take advantage of activities that encourage the creation of core memories, building closer relationships as a result. However, families can sometimes find that it’s a challenge to find quality time to connect. Work, summer camps, extracurricular activities and other commitments can leave families scattered in different directions, moreso than the rest of the year. We know that making time for family wellness activities is crucial for building strong bonds, reducing stress and promoting overall well-being. Here are five fun and easy ideas to bring your family together this summer!

1. Cook a Meal Together

Nothing brings a family together like preparing a meal side by side. Choose a new summer recipe to try as a group and have each family member contribute an age-appropriate task, whether it’s chopping vegetables, mixing ingredients or setting the table. Cooking together encourages communication, cooperation and a shared sense of accomplishment. Plus, you’ll end up with a delicious homemade dish to enjoy together.

2. Go for a Family Hike

Getting out in nature is a fantastic way to exercise both your bodies and your minds. Pick a scenic hiking trail that’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels in your family. As you walk, take in the sights and sounds around you, and use the opportunity to chat, laugh and connect without the distractions of screens and devices.

3. Host a Family Game Night

Pull out the board games, video games or even yard games and have a family game night. Friendly competition can bring out everyone’s playful side, and sharing laughs over game victories and losses creates lasting memories. Consider rotating who gets to choose the games each time to keep things fresh.

4. Volunteer Together

Engaging in community service as a family teaches children the value of giving back and helps everyone feel more connected to the world around them. Look for local volunteer opportunities that align with your family’s interests, such as cleaning up a park, serving meals at a shelter or visiting with elderly neighbors.

5. Plan a Family Staycation

If a big family vacation isn’t in the cards, try planning a staycation instead. Explore your local area as if you were tourists, visiting museums, trying new restaurants, or checking out parks and attractions you’ve never experienced. You can even build a staycation atmosphere at home by decorating, playing music and letting the normal rules and routines slide for a few days.

If you find that frequent disagreements or fights are happening within your family, Outreach is here to help. Outreach offers a one-time free parent consultation. During a consultation, a parent will work with an Outreach counselor to understand the problem(s) you are facing and work together to develop a written plan you can implement in your home. Your counselors will follow up each consultation with a check-in phone call to see how the plan is working and refer additional services, if necessary. For more details, please refer to the website.

No matter which activities you choose, the key is to make family wellness a priority. Carving out that quality time together will strengthen your bonds and set your whole family up for greater happiness and health.

Outreach Teen & Family Services is a nonprofit, confidential counseling service. We offer programs to youth ages 5 to 21, parents and families in a welcoming environment. (412) 561-5405. This column is partially underwritten by the Mt. Lebanon Police Association.