The B4FD Project features blog posts from guest writers that explore the far-reaching benefits of family dinner.

Family Dinner Month 2012: Sept 17 -- Oct 29, 2012


Wellness Lock-In: A ‘Must Do’ For All Families

by Angela Lemond, RD, CSP, LD

I had an epiphany this past weekend. What if families scheduled random “wellness lock-ins” every 3 months or so where they purposely worked on healthy family lifestyle components? You know, things such as:

- Emphasized family time

- Family-wide random activities such as going to the park, riding bikes, painting, cooking (at least one physical activity)

- Meals together the entire weekend, emphasis on nutrient-rich/healthy cuisine

- Read stories together

- Plenty of sleep with naps an option any or all of the days

- Reflect on old pictures, tell family stories, things that remind your children of their preciousness & uniqueness

- Minimize computer and television time to 2 hours daily (or none at all)

These types of weekends should be sacred, so that would mean no other obligations other than family time. Day after day, I meet families that say they are too busy to do many of the things that I suggest in my private nutrition consulting practice. But if you scheduled an entire weekend devoted to doing just these things, I believe that it would set the pace for a new emphasis and outlook. We all have Blackberry’s, iPhones and/or other devices that dictate where we will be at any given moment, so why not schedule sacred family time and decline other things that may come up during that time? Let our calendars work in our favor for once!

I have to admit, my last minute trip to the northeast was cancelled. Since nothing else was planned, I was able to have uninterrupted time with my precious family. There was nothing on our social calendar, so we did all these things mentioned above. It was such a gloriously enriching weekend that made me think about all the other families out there that need to do the same thing. This just happened for us this weekend, but I can assure you that we will have these planned out in the future.  You see, we should never be too busy to make time for the most important people in our lives but sadly, so often we are. If we don’t have our priorities straight, we cannot live out and model the healthy lifestyle we so badly want for our own children.

I want to issue a challenge to your family. Take the Wellness Lock-In Challenge at least one time between now and the end of the year by blacking out an entire weekend just to hang out with your family. If you decide to do this, do not make a bunch of set plans (i.e., (9-10am bike ride, 10-10:30 reading, etc. No!). Instead, just keep it open and allow the love you share take the lead. I promise you that it will be the most nourishing thing you and your family can do on so many levels.  Set aside the weekend, and take the challenge!

Angela Lemond is a registered and licensed dietitian with a private practice in Plano, Texas.  Her specialty areas are pediatrics and family nutrition.  Angela loves promoting family dinners, as she has seen the benefits firsthand in her family with her husband and two children.  Find out more about Angela visit www.angelalemond.com or follow her blog at MommyDietitian.com.

5 comments to Wellness Lock-In: A ‘Must Do’ For All Families

  • Although I frequently “beat myself up” for not serving the most imaginative, tasty family meals we not only practice the “wellness lock-in,” we live it day-to-day. There are only a handful of days each year that the entire family is not together playing games, exercising, cooking/baking, doing art activities or just hanging out. And, although we do enjoy watching old TV shows and movies, we thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. I know things will change as my children get older, but we are fortunate to lay the foundation now!

  • what a wonderful idea!!! we practice this sort of happy habit often in spurts (family dinners, occassional game nights, family hikes some weekends), but I like the idea of setting aside a whole weekend together. as “write on Jana” says, there may come a time when getting everyone to stay home all weekend is less feasible, so it makes sense to go for it now!

  • As a monther of three older teen’s having this sort of weekend when they are young is great. We are to busy as a society and put off family time in loo of other activities. I would beg you to plan this type of weekend for your family. It pays off when they get older and hanging with the family is a sorry excuse.
    With that said, I am going to plan a family card night. I have a 20, 18, and 16 year old who are too cool to stay home. Well I am going to try to change their minds. I am going to plan a favorite meal (Navajo Tacos) a great dessert (chocolate chip cookies) and then Texas Hold’em for the card game. So thank you for the idea!

  • Elise

    Wow- funny how we plan these for others: youth groups, adult groups, governing boards, etc. but not for our own! Thanks for sharing this insightful idea! I am going to tell someone about it so that I can be held accountable to making it happen.

  • Ben

    Really like this idea. Especially the key detail of not actually scheduling the weekend together, but instead allowing the family activities and fun to just unfold. Thanks for the encouragement!