It’s that time of year again, when many people start to think about New Year’s Resolutions. Most often we think about what I, as an individual, can give up or do to improve the quality of my life? Not many people think about what we can do as a family to kick off the New Year with a bang!
So let’s get started by thinking about what your family wants to accomplish for the New Year and break down the resolutions into a few categories. It can be anything from giving up the gadgets, spending more time together, family exercise or eating healthier.
First Steps…are as easy as 1, 2, 3…
- Get the family together for a family meeting– Discuss as a group some of your ideas for your 2013 resolutions. If you have little ones you may need to talk about what exactly is a resolution? Why do we make them each year? What are the benefits?
- Next, get everyone on board – You can draw up an informal contract. It can actually be written out and signed by the entire group or just a verbal agreement amongst the family. Whatever works best for you?
- Make it fun – This is the most important step. Ensure that your family resolutions are fun as well as good for the whole family. Then you are ready to pinpoint what resolutions will suit you.
Here are some fun and easy “Family Resolutions for the New Year”:
Give up the Gadgets– What does this mean? I’m sure children of all ages may ask this question when you introduce this idea for a Family Resolution. Let them know that it means just that… get unplugged! This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved. Take a day each week or every other week to put all the gadgets away, as hard as that may seem for many children and parents. This could include but not limited to shutting off all TV’s, iPads, phones, iPods, video games, computers, leap pads or any other electronic device that distracts families from interacting with one another. Then take the time to just chat as a family, play a board game, catch up, take a walk, go on a bike ride or do a fun family art project. You may realize that you really enjoy just spending some quality time together and that it can be a lot of fun at the same time.
Eat Healthy –Your family may want to adopt healthy eating for their New Year’s resolution. It certainly is much easier to involve the entire family in this endeavor then try to do it on your own. Getting the kids involved is probably the most important part of this choice. Let them help out with all aspects of eating healthy from assisting in choosing the menu, going to the grocery store to pick out healthy foods and snacks, to even involving them in the food preparation and cooking of the meals. Kids love to get involved with cooking especially when they know that you value their opinion and help no matter how old they are or what their skill level maybe. Work as a team and enjoy yourself!
Get Active…get outside – This option for a resolution goes hand and hand with eating healthy. You may want to include both for your family. When you think about getting active you first need to set some realistic goals for your family. You can’t expect you family to go from one to ten on the activity scale in a matter of a week. Families may want to start out slow and work their way up as time progresses. A great starting point maybe taking walks with your family after your healthy dinner. You may start off doing it once a week and then increase to three times a week. If your family doesn’t have the opportunity for walks you can also try a workout video. This could include a fun children’s workout tape or maybe the entire family could get involved in the WII Fit program. It doesn’t matter what you decide to do as long as you’re moving, enjoying yourself and working as a family. Don’t feel that it has to be a regimented exercise program. You may want to just play basketball in your yard, ride bikes up and down the street or just play tag in your neighborhood. I can’t stress enough to remember to have fun and just enjoy the time with your family.
Give back– Sometimes we forget that a resolution can involve making the world around us a better place. Your families New Year goal can be to discover some creative and easy ways to give back in their communities.
- This goal can be accomplished by going green and getting your family more involved in recycling in your home, school and work.
- Simply paying it forward to a friend or colleague. It can be as easy as a child helping a friend in a need or a parent leaving money for the next person in line at the grocery store.
- Make a goal for each family member to do one good deed a day or week. Then you can meet to discuss what you accomplished that week and how it made you feel. Be creative with this resolution. It can really bring families together to be involved in such a worthwhile endeavor.
The key to accomplishing these resolutions is teamwork. Don’t forget to praise your children for a job well done…and continue to encourage them to follow-thru with their resolutions throughout the entire year. It does feel good to set goals as a family and complete them as a family. So just keep plugging and it’s amazing what you can accomplish.
Kelli Didomenico brings over 20 years of experience to her role at The Children's Workshop as Director of Parent and Community Relations. She engages and welcomes families into the TCW family and to ensure that their experience with us is always top notch. Kelli earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. She was the Director and Owner of her own School Age Program and a Program Manager for Therapeutic child care before rejoining the TCW team in 2010. She is also a very active member of the communities we serve.
Kelli is a regular star on our Modern Parent Segment on The Rhode Show. Click here to see her episode on New Year Resolutions.