After January 1, it seems everyone is working to improve their diet or workout regime as they proclaim their New Year’s resolutions. A great way to bring your family closer in the coming year is for everyone to take part in those resolutions.
Children’s National Health System’s psychologist Eleanor Mackey, PhD, said the best way to accomplish a family resolution is to be specific.
Tips for Family Resolutions:
- Setting reasonable goals
- Make them specific and concrete
“If your goal is, ‘we should spend more time together as a family,’ you should get more specific like, every Friday is game night,” Mackey said. “Then, every Friday, decide on a specific time that the whole family will get together. Details like time and day of the week help you keep track and accomplish your goal.”
Older children may become interested in setting their own resolutions. If they sometimes have a hard time coming up with resolutions, so you can help them by asking a series of questions, such as, “Are there things you want to learn or are there things you want to change?”
“Creating a resolution gives kids the idea that if they want to change something about their life, then they can do it,” Mackey said.
It’s important to make sure you are not pushing the child into a goal because they are less likely to meet it, if they feel pressure. You can, however, guide them. If you have a young child who has trouble with sharing, you can tell them you will help them work on this goal.
“Having other people on board helps you make changes. Families could develop a quarter jar, where if someone is caught breaking their resolution, they put a quarter in,” Mackey said. “The family can then use the money compiled to do something fun together.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics has put together a list of resolutions to help families come up with ideas:
5 to 12 year olds
- Do a sport or activity three times a week
- Wear a helmet when bicycling
- Make friends with someone new, especially a kid who is shy or new to school
13 years old and up
- Eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day
- Play only non-violent video games or watch only non-violent televisions shows for only one or two hours a day
- Help out in the community by volunteering
- Never text or use a cellphone while driving
All of these resolutions are beneficial to the whole family. Parents can even accomplish multiple goals of improving diet and exercise together as a family, just buy planning to eat a healthy dinner together every night, followed by a family activity.
“You can also improve your family dynamic by making a resolution of no fighting at the dinner table,” Mackey said. “And only talk about happy things after dinner.”