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Family Matters

Family New Year’s Resolutions

December 31st, 2013

By Sara Kendall

Promise and possibilities emerge as the New Year rolls around. Many take stock of where they are and where they want to be. This year, try making resolutions as a family. Doing so will give your kids an opportunity to learn about working together as a team and the value of goal setting. Get started by gathering everyone around to discuss goals as a family. We suggest five attainable family goals to set in motion to see what your family can accomplish together. Don’t tackle them all at once, choose one, and focus on this goal for several weeks before adding a new one.

Eat Healthier

It’s one of the most common New Year resolutions out there, but it’s truly important to put your family on the path of eating more natural foods and fewer processed meals. Think about incorporating more veggies into the meals you already serve like adding shredded carrots to your mac-n-cheese or chopped veggies to meatballs. Kids will hardly notice but it adds more vitamins, minerals, and fiber to their dinner. For dessert, serve the fruit of the season instead a pre-packaged, processed treat.

Search online for healthy family recipe ideas. Homemade meals do take a bit more time to prepare than those highly processed frozen or boxed meals. As you get started, look for simple recipes not requiring a lot of prep time. Get your kids involved by helping with some of the food preparation. Takeout is convenient and sometimes unavoidable, but homemade meals are far healthier and much cheaper.

Get Fit Together

Here’s another top resolution that is often forgotten in just a month or two, but regular exercise has been associated with enormous health benefits. The more active you are the better you will feel and the healthier you will be. Figure out a schedule and make a plan to get moving biweekly or every other day. If your family can only work out once a week, it’s better than nothing. Active families are healthier families, so get yours moving. Here are a few suggestions to get your family started.

·         Take a walk around the neighbourhood

·         Hit the bike trails through a local park

·         Play laser tag or paintball

·         Go rollerblading or ice skating at an indoor rink

·         Create an obstacle course in your backyard or indoors

Unplug Once a Week - Technology is an incredible tool that, for better or for worse, will forever be a part of our lives. On the downside, many have become obsessed with constantly checking in on social media sites, playing games, or endless hours surfing. Completely unplug once a week and have a Screen-Free Day. You will inevitably get protests from your kids and even your spouse, but everyone will learn different ways to fill their time. Kids will get active and their creativity will blossom. Parents will get back to the basics and spend more time with their kids.   

Simplify Schedules - Over-scheduling has become a common concern in many families. Look at your calendar to see if this issue applies to your family. Is your family’s calendar jammed with multiple activities on each day? Are your kids tired and grumpy all the time? Grades slipping and their friends don’t come around as much anymore? Eating take-out every night? If you’re nodding your head yes, you need to make a change. Kids need time for their homework, playing with friends, hanging out with family, and just relaxing. If your kids are overscheduled, it typically means parents are too. Reduce activities, and stress levels will drop for the whole family.

Argue Less, Talk More - Sibling rivalry is alive and well in most families. You can hear it loud and clear by all their screaming. Explain there is a nicer way to communicate with each other. Teach your children to take five by taking some deep breaths and removing themselves from the situation. A strategically placed break from the action will allow emotions to calm down resulting in less screaming and more talking. Constant reinforcement of this new process will be needed to make an improvement. Watch yourself and be the example for the new plan. It will be worth your family’s efforts. Your home will be a healthier and happier environment for everyone.

Each of these five resolutions is worthwhile for your family to make and keep. When it’s a group effort, there’s a greater chance for these resolutions to turn into habits. Positive changes can be put in place and every family member will reap the rewards.

Sara Kendall is a freelance writer and mom of two daughters.

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