Most of us approach new year’s resolutions with enthusiasm and resolve and then promptly ditch all our big plans way before the snow melts. January is a bonanza month for health clubs as new memberships spike, yet 67% of those new memberships won't visit the gym even once!
How about this year, you save the money on a new gym membership and instead make some family resolutions that are actually worth keeping? Sometime between Christmas and the new year I love to journal about the past year, all the things I experienced and achieved and my hopes and plans for the coming year. Try this year to hold a family meeting to achieve the same goal, let each family member share their highs and lows for the year and map out their wishes for the next 12 months. Then draw up a list of resolutions or goals you want to work together to achieve as a family. But Instead of focusing on deprivation and all the things we are not allowed, make the goals about things you promise to do together, to create memories and strengthen your family bond.
I like to plan 12 resolutions which represent the 12 months of the coming year. Here are my top family resolutions:
Arrange a weekly movie night, which can either be in front of your own T.V at home or out at the movie theatre. Rotate the person who chooses the movie so that everyone gets a chance to see their favorite.
As often as you can manage, but ideally at least once per month, arrange a parent-child date where each child gets the undivided attention of their parent without having to share with their siblings.
Hold a family meeting and involve all family members in brainstorming destinations. Obviously parents will have the final say but listen carefully to children's suggestions for activities, restaurants and experiences and incorporate as many of their choices as financially and logistically possible.
Planning family fitness goals can be as simple as committing to an after dinner walk each evening, or a weekly swim. Whatever activities you choose try to keep the emphasis on fun participation.
The start of the year is a great time to review which extra curricular clubs your kids have enjoyed in the past year, which ones they would like to ditch and if any new interests have developed.
All families have arguments and disagreements and sometimes they can actually be a healthy way to vent frustrations but yelling is rarely productive. This year, in my family we are trying to curb our excessive shouting and have thought of a creative way to manage our loud and angry voices. During a disagreement, each person must say a code word (a previously agreed upon silly word or phrase) before they can respond with their 2 cents. It’s quite hard to remain grouchy when everyone has to say “purple armadillo” before each sentence!
To be an effective parent you sometimes need the day off. If you are in a two parent household take it in turns to allow one parent a kid free day to catch up with errands, have a haircut, go shopping or just do nothing. If you parent solo (firstly, wow, you rock!) ask a friend or relative to watch the children so that you can take care of you.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are important to children as they offer an alternative authority figure and help them to see their own parent in a different light, for example mom is also someones daughter, someones sister etc. It might only be feasible to plan a day like this once per year, but whether it's a family party or a day out at a theme park, inviting the whole extended family makes this an unforgettable memory.
When you’re parenting, you can often become stuck in your assigned role of mom or dad and forget that you are also a person who deserves a little romance now and again. Organise a date night as often as you can and try not to chat about your kids all night.
Children often don't have the chance to make decisions during the day about the food they’ll eat, the clothes they’ll wear or the places they'll go, sometimes it can be nice to give them total free rein to plan their day and yours. They can choose everything from food to activities to outfits. It can also be good for parents to give up a little control and see how much more fun it can be when someone else is in charge.
Having a staycation and learning to appreciate the sights and sounds your own city has to offer is a fun and economical way to inject some whimsy into your weekend. Pretend you are tourists and research some websites beforehand to see what the top attractions are in your town.
Plan an adventure day where everyone in the family gets to enjoy some high adrenaline activities. This could be a weekend camping trip, go kart racing, a kayak outing or mountain bike ride, whatever means adventure to you and your crew.
With a little planning, co-operation and allowing your kids to participate and have a say, you can plan for some awesome family fun that will last the whole new year long.