Don't make unrealistic New Year's resolutions that you'll break before you know it. Instead, make some new commitments as a family to spend more time together, argue less and stay active.
Family New Year's resolutions
Sit down to dinner
Eating family dinners together has been linked to lower incidence of teen smoking, drinking and drug use. Additionally, research shows that kids who eat with their family also get better grades. And if you need more reasons to sit down to dinner, meals at home cost less than eating out, plus you'll be able to ensure your kids are consuming their veggies, trying new foods and eating more healthfully. This year, make a resolution to sit down and eat dinner together as a family at least four nights a week.
Are your kids scheduled from breakfast to bedtime? Scheduling your kids for every extracurricular activity and event possible doesn't make you a good parent. You have to find the balance of letting your children participate in activities they enjoy, while also allowing time for free play, friends, family and sleep. Parents who overschedule their kids often overschedule themselves too. Make a promise to yourself and your family to ease back on all the structure and planning to allow everyone to have a little more free time.
With all of his activities, is your child overscheduled? >>
Unplug once a week
Technology is great and we certainly can't live without it. However, if your family is always on the computer, watching TV or playing video games, it's time to take a break and reconnect with each other. Dedicate one day a week as an "unplugged" day. On this day, turn off computers, televisions, smartphones and all other electronics. Use this day to get back to basics.
Read about ways to maximize your family's time together >>
Plan family fitness days
Keep your family fit and healthy by holding family fitness days. Take a walk (or run) together every evening, plus use the weekends to try out new fun ways to exercise.
Start a family hobby
Collaborate with your family members to start a hobby together. Discuss options that interest everyone and take a vote on which hobby you would all like to try. When tossing out ideas for a hobby, considering the following:
The family that journals together, stays together
Starting a family journal is a great way to spend more time with your kids as well as gain insight into their innermost feelings. Journaling with your kids can be as simple as sharing a spiral notebook in which you can all jot down a few sentences (or more) about a shared experience. For example, if you've recently gone out to a new restaurant, ask everyone in your family to jot down their personal "review" of the restaurant, as well as their favorite moments of the dining experience.
Connect with your kids by sharing a journal together >>
Hit the road
Traveling more is a wholesome resolution that every member of the family is sure to enjoy. The trips don't have to be extravagant break-the-bank treks to Disneyland. Think camping, road trips and visiting friends and family in nearby cities or states.
Make a chat pact
If you're not used to simply chatting with your kids, creating a resolution to communicate more (outside of the necessities of the day-to-day) may seem a little silly at first. However, the more you start enjoying casual conversation with your family as a whole, the easier it will become. Plus, it will bring you closer to your children so it will be easier to have those tough conversations that are oh-so-necessary throughout the awkward teen years. If your kids seem reluctant to open up at first, simply make the first move by telling them about your day or a special memory that you have of when you were their ages.
Laugh more, argue less
Probably the most important thing you can do for your family is to enjoy life and avoid arguments. Don't sweat the small stuff. Create a laid back atmosphere in your household with lots of laughs and love. Control your temper and be kind to others, and your children with follow suit. Reducing confrontations and stress leads to a healthy and happy environment for everyone.
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