Staying Safe: Things Families Can Do at Home

Family

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in terms of how people work, play, work, and spend time with their families. Some have welcomed the switch to telecommuting and spending more time with family; others, not so much. Many are getting cabin fever.

Finding activities outside of the family home is not often an option, so many people are looking for new things they can do with their family members at home.

When looking for activities for the family, they should not only be fun but intentional, designed to bring about positive outcomes, and increase happiness levels. 

Positive Psychological Interventions?

What Are Intentional Activities?

One of the reasons that families need to choose intentional activities, is because parents need to do all they can to support the healthy development and well being of their children. This is especially important during these challenging times. 

People can live under the same roof for years and not know each other. This can be an opportunity to get to know each other better. One way is by choosing intentional activities, such as being of service to others, nurturing social relationships, and practicing optimism.

The happier and more connected people are, the less likely they are to become anxious, depressed, or to abuse or become addicted to substances such as drugs and alcohol. That’s the idea behind positive psychology interventions (PPI), such as self-help interventions, group training, and individual therapy.

PPIs give the family the opportunity, freedom, and affirmation to share their perspectives and the things that are the most important to them. 

Here are some activities families can engage in at home to help keep them safe and connected.

Board Games 

Playing a board game is not only entertaining but doing so is a great way to get the endorphins flowing. There are a host of other benefits to playing board games that can benefit every member of the family. 

Several controlled trials show that playing traditional board games reduces cognitive impairment. They also help with depression—one of the leading causes of substance abuse and addiction—which has increased in severity from 16.2% pre-pandemic to 24.6%.

The most severe cases of depression have gone from a rate of 0.7% before the start of the pandemic to 5.1% in early 2021. The same studies show that women experience symptoms of depression at a higher rate than men.

Playing board games also satisfies the third tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. This activity helps members of the family unit to feel loved and gives them a sense of belonging.

Through the playing of board games, family members of all ages can compete while connecting. They also have the opportunity to develop, and even sharpen their soft skills such as self-awareness, self-management, organization, and responsible decision-making. 

Children need to develop behavioral and social skills, Without these skills, there is a greater probability they may delve into negative behaviors like violence, or substance abuse.

Children and adults who have not developed soft skills will turn to negative behaviors as a way of communicating what they couldn’t otherwise. Successful communication is the key to positive family communication and problem-solving. 

So, dust off the Monopoly set or the Trouble board and have some fun.

Movies

Movies are a great way for families to connect and to learn from one another. People can use movies to help the children and other adults in their lives understand many of the life and social skills they are teaching them. 

Messages stick better when they are reaffirmed without boring repetition. Movies lend themselves to this because few are original in themselves. The message can be reinforced by also reading a book or a news story upon which the movie is based or inspired. This is dual coding.

Movies are also great intentional teaching tools if the movie is well-matched to its intention. The right movie, like books before them, can motivate people into action and act as a catalyst for positive change. 

Movies have the potential to positively affect thought patterns, perceptions, and attitudes. One study looked at a specific example of this: the 2010 Oscar-nominated Food Inc.

The documentary was an eye-opening account of how food is processed in the United States. It not only influenced how its viewers shopped for food and what they ate but also motivated them to push for legislation to improve food safety. 

Sources

  1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - Investigating conceptions of intentional action by analyzing participant generated scenarios
  2. extension.psu.edu - Exploring developmentally appropriate practice
  3. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - Special series on “effects of board games on health education and promotion” board games as a promising tool for health promotion: a review of recent literature
  4. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - Positive psychology interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies
  5. cidrap.umn.edu - Depression triples in US adults amid COVID-19 stressors
  6. search.k-state.edu - Bonding Thru Board Games Fact Sheet
  7. paadulted.org/?p=102 - Educational Benefits Of Movies
  8. annenberg.usc.edu - Research study finds that a film can have a measurable impact on audience behavior

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - Impact of Films: Changes in Young People’s Attitudes after Watching a Movie

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patrick Bailey
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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