CFAES Give Today
OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

June 11, 2024 - 8:56am --

Think about how you would answer this question. “What does healthy look like to you?”

So many times, in our current state of busy lives, I’d venture to say that many of us don’t really give it much thought.  We might do our best to get some exercise or to eat a few more fruits and vegetables, but what is your healthy goal?  

It seems that we’ve become so focused on the challenges we face that we may not spend time on the things that we can do both personally and as a family to be healthy.  Physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional areas are components of personal wellness and may also align with health in the family, the worksite, and the community.

While finding a balanced life is a personal journey, some components are important in the foundation.  A balance of work and family, healthy nutritious food, and activity, and setting a budget to spend and save each month.   Finding a balance can be stressful, especially if you are trying to balance everything all at once! It takes time, and there seems to be less and less time in the day as we seek to balance work and family.

Tips to establishing family time

This naturally leads to the question, “What is a family to do?” While it may be difficult to leave work at work, families have developed different methods to make the most of limited time together. Here are a few tips that my co-workers and I put together, see if these ideas work for your family as well!

  • Establish a weekly family time. Try to hold this time as a quality time in which the family does something everyone can be involved in and enjoy. Try to make it an active, healthy time. It doesn’t have to be an expensive outing (remember, we want to spend smart!). Some of our best times together have been planting seeds, going on bike or horse rides, swinging in the backyard, visiting one of the parks, painting, dancing to silly songs, or doing some work together like grocery shopping or doing dishes.
  • Aim to eat several family meals together every week. Whether those meals are at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and regardless of the day of the week, sit down and spend time talking about what is going on in each other’s lives while eating healthy foods. As children are able, they can help or actually prepare the meal.  It’s a great time for conversation.
  • If you have children, particularly those who are young, dedicate a few moments to each child each night. Many years ago, our youngest daughter called this our “rocking and reading time.” She loved this time together because it was time that I spent with just her. She picked out a book to read and when we were done reading and talking about the book, she would tell me about her day. Then she would ask, “Mommy, how was your day today?”
  • As children age, they still need that one-to-one time and as parents, we go from enforcing the rules to coach and encourager.  Use the opportunities they give us to be involved in their lives and activities. The dishes and dust bunnies will wait. If they want you to go with them, go.  If they want to talk, talk.  If the opportunities are there to spend time with them, take advantage of them.  Building relationships now will be so important for the challenges they face in the future.
  • Whatever time you spend together, make family time positive. Sometimes adults have bad days and sometimes kids do, too. Talk together about how to cope with stress and bad days and use those as a teaching opportunity.  Remember you are modeling how they will respond by what you say and do. 

I used as a resource the National 4-H Council, which provides an activity guide you might find helpful for ideas. You can find the guide at  This summer make it a goal to be healthy and happy!

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.