As the calendar turns over to another new year, you might be thinking of some personal resolutions you want to make. While most of us will fall off the resolution bandwagon by Valentine’s Day, studies show that when families make commitments together, they are more likely to honor those resolutions. That’s why PBS suggests making it a family affair to discuss resolutions for the new year. Have each family member who is able answer two simple questions:
- What worked for us as a family this year?
- What didn’t?
No matter what age your children are, they will understand the value of goal-setting if you the parent take the lead. Share first what worked for you this year–and be honest about what didn’t. Then, together, nail down some goals you can work on together in 2018.
Here are six of our favorite family-friendly resolution ideas:
Less Tech Time
We all know that our electronic addiction is a growing problem. The ability to remain connected to our workplace, our extended family, and all our friends is both a blessing and a burden. Raising kids in a tech savvy–and saturated–world is hard and it’s up to us to set the best example we can for when technology needs a break. Together decide to unplug for a certain time everyday, such as meal times. On the weekends, you might want to consider an even longer chunk of time without devices. The key is to disconnect so you can reconnect with those in your home and life right now.
More Outdoor Time
If you think on it, chances are most of your best childhood memories happened outside. From camping trips to lake excursions, afternoons in the park or picnics in the mountains, being outside together builds family memories. Outdoor time also helps you exercise together in case you made that personally popular resolution. Plus, you’ll get a healthy dose of Vitamin D, which will boost brain activity–and help your kids (and you!) sleep better. Plan one outdoor activity a week if you’re able. Explore your local area parks and recreation areas or simply throw the football around on your own front lawn.
Follow up the holiday season of giving with a resolution to serve together all year long. From soup kitchens to clothing drives, there are many ways your family can volunteer in your local community. Get involved through a religious or civic organization and carry the spirit of Christmas throughout the whole year. Plus, serving together can double as outdoor time or tech-free time.
Plan Rest Time
Our calendars are often so full it can be difficult to find time to spend together as a family, much less find time to rest. Decide together how many activities are too many for your family. Overscheduling looks different for everyone. Then consider blocking off one evening or afternoon a week in which no one is allowed to put anything on the calendar. Not only will this offer you some built in family time, you’ll be guaranteed at least a few hours each week to rest and recuperate.
Make Family Dinner
Whether you make dinner from scratch or pop in a frozen casserole, commit to eating dinner together several times a week. Studies show that in families who have a routine of sit down family dinner, children have better grades, more confidence, and are healthier physically and emotionally. The Washington Post even reported that family dinner introduces more vocabulary to young children than reading aloud. Plus, by eating dinner at home you’ll be saving money and controlling what’s on your table–from preservatives to cell phones.
Develop an Emergency Plan
In today’s world it’s possible–and also necessary–to be prepared for anything. Work together as a family to develop your emergency plan this year. Ready.gov has a simple template online you can use to help guide your family emergency plan. They encourage you to start with these four questions:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
Consider your family’s specific needs and disasters (such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires) that could affect your area. Also, remember your smaller scale emergency plan–do your kids know what to do in the event of a house fire or break in? While we don’t like to always talk about scary situations, by empowering your family with a plan, you are being proactive and protective.
What resolutions has your family made this year?