Last week, we talked about how the change in seasons—longer or shorter days and increased or decreased physical activity—can have a major influence on our moods and how WRAP can help. This week, we’re focusing on the question “What about those of us who live with families?” If a change in season affects one member of the household, then everyone else in the home will also feel that effect. Children and teens might resist (even more than usual) getting out of bed for school as the days get shorter. Adults might experience increased stress related to work or caregiving.
Family WRAP offers guidance on how to get through these stressful times as a family. A Family WRAP shares much of the same structure as a traditional WRAP or one tailored to specific audiences or situations. However, because the focus is on improving the family’s wellness, rather than concentrating on an individual, the wellness tools include many family-focused activities. It could involve bringing everyone together for a seasonally appropriate activity, like a family sledding outing in the winter or a day trip to a swimming hole in the middle of summer.
Remember to focus, though, on activities that everyone will enjoy, rather than those that they should enjoy. I’ve been known to tell my children during trips to historical sites or geological oddities, “This might not be fun now, but in 20 years, it will be retroactively fun.” Although enrichment plays a role in raising children, something like a snowball fight or a trip to an amusement park will probably have more of an effect on bringing family members together.
Where Family WRAP really differs from other types of WRAP, though, is that it reminds us what we need to do to thrive as a family. It gives us the opportunity to evaluate whether we are remembering to say, “I love you”; to distribute responsibilities fairly; and to offer praise or constructive criticism. By making sure that our families are running like they should, we will be better prepared for the stresses that can arrive with a change in season.
Alan Marzilli, J.D., M.A., is a senior writer/program associate at Advocates for Human Potential (AHP). His work focuses primarily on homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder services, cannabis regulation, and employment services.