It's easy to get caught up the New Year trap and focus on setting all kinds of goals you'll probably forget about by the end of the month. So why not try something new this year? Sit down together
as a family and make some important resolutions you can all keep together.
Setting family resolutions isn't a typical activity, but it is an important one. It provides a chance to reconnect with your spouse and kids after the craziness of December. And we've made it easy
for you, with your top five broken down into manageable chunks you can check off along the way.
Create a family safety plan
No one wants to think about a house fire, a flood, a storm, or an accident. But responsible parents know they have to plan for the worst -- even as they hope it never happens. Take some time to
talk with your kids about what you would do in different kinds of emergency situations. Make sure everyone knows where emergency supplies are kept, names and numbers of friends you could turn to,
and where you could all meet if a disaster separated you.
- By the end of the month, make a list of emergency supplies you need, and determine an offsite meeting place.
- By the end of April, purchase and store all your emergency supplies, and teach everyone how to use a fire extinguisher.
- By the end of August, have a family fire drill, and practice what to do in other situations, as appropriate. (One the Gulf Coast, talk about what to do during a hurricane. In California,
discuss earthquake safety.)
- By the end of November, make sure you have a will written and stored with at least two different family members.
Plan a family vacation
Who says resolutions have to be hard work? Commit to a family vacation. Talk about where you'd like to go and what you hope to do. Be sure to listen to everyone's ideas, and come up with a way to
make your final decision in a way that doesn't leave anyone feeling ignored. For example, if your son's locale wins out, let your daughter decide which activities you'll do each day.
- By the end of the month, set the location and budget for the trip and open a dedicated savings account.
- By the end of April, finalize the dates, and set up automatic transfers to your savings account.
- By the end of August, determine what you'll do on your vacation, and make any other necessary reservations.
- By the end of November, complete your packing lists and get ready to go!
For more vacation tips, check out our stress-free family travel guide.
Get fit together
"Small changes are all it takes to produce the best long-term results," says Susie Garcia, a registered dietitian with West coast grocer Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. So make a few of those
small changes to improve your family's overall health. Work on your eating habits and up your fitness level just a little bit, and you'll see big improvements in energy and well being over the
course of the year.
- By the end of the month, decide on a regular family activity, such as walking, softball, or swimming, and create a schedule of when you'll go.
- By the end of April, switch out soft drinks for water at family meals. Save the sodas for special occasions.
- By the end of August, start serving fruit for dessert after dinner, and keep a tray of fresh vegetables in the fridge instead of processed snacks in the pantry.
- By the end of November, take a family portrait to capture the difference you've made!
Get more tips here on how to lose weight as a family.
Next page: Find out what family activity decreases your child's chance of abusing drugs and developing an eating disorder