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Caring For Our Kids

Family resolutions for the new year

Families everywhere can celebrate the new year and make resolutions to benefit the family. photo: georgeanddana / flickr

A good friend said recently, “the days are long but the years are short.” I couldn’t agree more, because this is exactly how I feel looking back over 2014. It was an exciting but crazy year for our family, and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings our way. Looking ahead and setting some resolutions as a family can be a great way to ring in the new year. It can be a time to set goals or talk about bad habits you want to change. As with any goal or resolution, the key is to start small and make sure it is realistic and achievable. Here are a few things you may want to try for 2015:

Stay active: This can be a great family goal and is possible for children of all ages. The key to success here is to make it a priority and make it fun. It can be as simple as playing catch at the park or planning a family bike ride. Hiking is also a great way to stay active. As a family, you can scout out and research hikes together and make a checklist that will help keep you all accountable. Our family decided this year to do a family fun run and work up to a certain mileage. The goal especially for older children can be improving their time or increasing their distance. It is also important to let your children see that exercise is a priority for you. They are much more likely to want to stay fit and active if they see you doing the same.

Less screen time: This is definitely easier said than done but something I am really going to work on in 2015. It seems like some days I am constantly prying a phone, iPad, or some sort of screen out of everyone’s hands — even my two-year-old’s, I have to admit. So my plan has two parts. The first is to set specific rules on time limits and stick to them. The second part is to lead by example — sometimes we parents have to be reminded to put down our devices as well. We can be an example that every second of down time does not need to be filled up using a screen. It is so easy to use these devices as a babysitter when we are out to dinner or need to get something done around the house. Obviously sometimes it is unavoidable, but we also need to encourage our children to draw, read, or create with blocks or Legos. So much of our lives are technology based that going back to the basics of building blocks or paper and crayons can be beneficial.

More family time: It is very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. In our house, we have to do a lot of dividing and conquering to make it all happen — the sports practices, birthday parties, and errands. Just as we schedule and put all those things on the calendar, we are also planning to schedule family time. This could be an afternoon hike, a family game night, or even playing the question game in the car. It also could be as easy as scheduling a regular family meal. For us, weeknight meals are difficult, so we plan a Saturday morning pancake breakfast. It is something we all look forward to and has become a fun family tradition. Giving children an opportunity to talk about their days or share experiences encourages open communication, which is especially important as your children get older.

Last, we can set resolutions as families, and we can also set some as parents. Mine for the new year is “let it go.” Call it Frozen fever but it is a good reminder for daily life. Don’t sweat the small stuff and try to do it all: Focus on what is important and accept that not everything is perfect all the time. This goes for housework, dealing with the kids, and the general things in day-to-day life that can cause stress and frustration.

So set some resolutions as a family and some for yourself. Make them fun yet simple. Happy New Year!

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Liz Farrell is the mother of three young children. She was formerly a television producer in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. E-mail: [email protected]

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