Living Well is the national marketing campaign for Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), and it’s what FCS Extension Educators all across the nation teach on a daily basis. We share information, education and options that help address challenging issues in life. When people ask me what I do as a Family and Consumer Science Educator, my quick response is that I teach life skills - those skills and methods that we need to accomplish the tasks at all phases of life, like getting along in a family, choosing and preparing food for meals, balancing our budgets or saving for future goals and in general living well. The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences chose this theme several years ago to help promote the role of Extension Educators. Check out their website here for more details. Each tab will take you to University resources across the nation that have information to help you and your family.
Raising kids isn’t child’s play, eating right can be a tall order, and spending smart takes dollars and sense, but we can help you do all of these things so that you and your family may be Living Well, today and in the future. For many, Living Well means finding a good balance - a balance of both discipline and love to help families thrive, a balance of healthy foods to maintain strong bodies, and a balance of income and spending so money is there when needed. 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. What are some simple things I can do? Here are a few tips to get you started - choose one to practice into a daily routine, then choose another.
*Have a daily routine for you and your family, it helps to give structure and security. Mealtime and bedtime might be a good place to start. Post a schedule with times or pictures of a clock to help children learn time management.
*Eat together as a family. Even if it’s short and simple, that time is important for everyone to talk and keep up to date with the daily happenings. Put up the electronics and encourage conversations for everyone.
*Have some time in the week designated as family time. It can be talking a walk or cleaning the barn. It can be helping with the meal or playing a board game. Whatever it is, involve everyone and make it fun!
*Try one new food a week. Let children help you with the shopping, in the kitchen, in the meal preparation, and with the clean-up. Life skills will be encouraged with each stage of involvement.
*Choose water and low fat milk instead of sugary beverages.
*Make half of your plate, your grocery cart, and your cupboard or refrigerator consist of fruits and vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, or canned. Spring is coming, might you think about planting a small garden? Not only will picking your own be a fun activity, it’s science in action from planting to harvest.
*Plan what meals you are going to make this week and make a list before you go to the grocery store. Have the children keep track with a calculator of what the budget is and help make some of the spending decisions.
*Keep track of everything you spend for one or two weeks to see where the spending leaks are in your budget. Write down on a calendar everything you spend and total it up at the end to see the “extras” and how the money slips through our fingers.
*Build your emergency fund so that you have a safety net for times when unexpected expenses arise. Save your change, or set an amount every month so that you don’t risk missing a payment when bills arise that you didn’t plan on.
Building a strong family is an investment in your future, one day at a time, and that’s Living Well
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu.