When people think of resolutions, they usually fall back on some favorites. Examples include losing weight, exercising more or giving up something unhealthy. Families have a great opportunity to assess at the end of each year and consider opportunities for growth. What will make their unit even stronger in the new year? Here are some resolutions for families to consider:

1. Start a new tradition.

Is there something you’ve wanted to try as a family? Perhaps you want to set aside one night a week for movies as Family Night? Or is there a special place you want to visit for a certain holiday like St. Patrick’s Day or Independence Day every year? Some families have a special pajama party or gingerbread house decoration contest every year around Christmas. Make it your own!

2. Create a yearly Family Day.

With busy schedules filled with tutoring, sports, music lessons and enrichment activities, it’s hard to find good quality time with family. Taking a moment or time out from all that activity can be a tremendous boost to the whole unit. Sometimes it’s even more welcome when Family Day falls on a weekday. This means the parents and kids get to play hooky. Celebrate each other instead.

3. Practice kind words.

It’s easy to take loved ones for granted or forget to be polite. Make an effort this new year to give hugs and kisses. Say “good morning” and “good evening” on a regular basis. Let’s be as nice to our family as we are to strangers.

4. Practice kind deeds.

Resolutions for families can be a weekly, monthly or daily routine. Encouraging random acts of kindness in your family can take the form of friendly competitions to see who can come up with the most unique idea. Maybe even have an awards ceremony at the end of the year. Paying tolls for the car behind you or collecting used clothes for a charity drive, there are many ways to encourage a more giving mindset.

5. Work out together.

Make the annual “more exercise” goal a family thing. No matter the age, kids can participate by joining in yoga sessions or group runs (even if they’re in a stroller.) If you’re goal-oriented, sign up for a 5k and train together.

6. Make healthier food choices.

Some parents take an empty jar and put in beans for every healthy food choice their kids make. When the jar of beans is full, they trade those beans for video games, playdates or toys. Meanwhile the whole family benefits from making veggies and fruits part of their diet.

7. Designate no-phone zones.

Another idea in the never-ending quest to limit screen time among growing children is to create a new family rule. For example, make dinnertime a “no-phone” zone. Or maybe after dinner when the family gathers for a movie or television show together. When parents model this behavior, the kids are more likely to get on board as well.

8. Make safety a priority.

Speaking of less screen time, pledge to each other that no drivers will engage in texting while behind the wheel. Think of other ways you all can make safety a priority, depending on your habits and preferences. For instance, wear helmets while out on the bicycle.

9. Think globally, act locally.

Get your family interested in ways to save our planet. Perhaps you all can make a greater effort to recycle or compost. Maybe shorten the amount of time spent in the shower or turn off the water while brushing teeth. Ride bikes or walk to school and work if possible. That’s a great way to leave less of a carbon footprint, save money on gas or electricity, and get in shape at the same time.

10. Make an emergency plan.

The end of the old year, or the beginning of the new one, is a great time to check all your smoke alarms. And while you’re at it, make sure everyone knows the family emergency plan. This can include regular drills, so the kids know where to meet outside if something were to happen – even in the middle of the night.

11. Make dinner time, family time.

Perhaps getting kids to put down their phones or eat healthy all the time is asking too much. But a family dinner is a great time to give it a try. You can put phones away, turn off the television, make healthy meals and focus on each other. Commit to trying this once a week. You may find you like it so much, it becomes a nightly occurrence.

12. Take more walks.

Some kids won’t open up at the dinner table, it’s too much pressure. But they will start talking during some kind of physical activity. Family walks can be a great habit to pick up in the new year.

13. Make books a part of your routine.

Resolutions for families can encourage reading by making biweekly trips to the library together. What about a family book club? You each read the chosen book or story and then get together to discuss.  

14. Share duties and responsibilities.

Create a system where weekly and daily chores are shared equally.

15. Make constructive feedback an opportunity for kindness.

Learn to share learning opportunities in a positive manner. For example, if someone has a complaint about someone else, they can express it between two compliments. This resolution can easily become a good habit. 

16. Get some sleep.

Most of us need between 7-10 hours of sleep every night. This allows us to do our best at school or work. We also eat healthier, exercise more and act nicer when we are well-rested. Make it a family priority to encourage a good night’s sleep more in the new year.

17. Stick to a family budget.

Teach the kids about living within their means by creating a budget. Show them how to stick with it. Encourage saving habits by planning a fun vacation at the end of the year if you all meet your goals.

18. Go out on dates.

Parents in need of one-on-one time and grownup conversations can date each other more in the new year. Recharging those batteries and talking over a quiet dinner every now and then is important. Make it a monthly “date.”

The best resolutions for families are also ways to stay fit, save money and make healthy choices. Many also allow you to reconnect more consistently with the ones you love the most. Here’s to a better and happier new year.

Categories: Parenting

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