Ngala Clinical Psychologist, Lloyd Fernandez lent his knowledge to an insightful family health report released at the weekend.

Lloyd shared his thoughts on the health benefits of family holidays in the HBF Healthy Family Holidays Report.

The Report, based on a survey HBF conducted with over 400 WA parents of 0-12 year olds, included commentary from Lloyd alongside a national panel of clinical health experts and educators in family and childhood health.

In the Report, Lloyd explained how holidays can be a healthy family bonding experience, “On holidays we change the lens of our experiences. We leave behind our usual schedules and routines, and instead, take with us an openness to adventure, the unknown and new experiences. Holidays especially enable children to soak up more of their parents who drop the ‘traffic manager’ persona and are themselves more relaxed.”

He explained how holidays can foster happiness through connection, “Families that go away together are exposed to different cultures, environments and people. This opens up opportunity for communication between children and their parents, which helps foster greater connection and understanding.”

And holidays play a big role in shaping our identity as we grow up. Lloyd explained, “Neuroscience research tells us that brain development is not just a structural thing, but it’s dependent on quality experiences too; and this brain development also helps to shape a person’s identity.”

HBF’s survey revealed cost was the top reason that held WA families back from taking more time-out together, but Lloyd and other experts agreed holidays needn’t been be extravagant to benefit our health.

“We can derive significant health benefits from just a few days away or even a day-trip spent together as a family. It’s all about experiencing new things and creating happy memories together as a family. This does wonders for our physical, emotional and mental health,” HBF Executive General Manager – Health and Wellness, Jennifer Solitario said.

“1 in 10 (11%) of parents told us their best family holiday involved being away for a maximum of three nights. A quarter (27%) said their best break was no more than five nights,” Jennifer said.

“We all get caught up in the busyness of life. With the Easter break just around the corner, hopefully our report provides just the encouragement West Aussie parents need to take stock, prioritise their family’s wellbeing and book some valuable time-out.”

Read the full HBF Healthy Family Holidays Report here.