Posted on January 01 2019
At the start of every year, people vow to eat healthier, take up a punishing exercise regime or give up a bad habit.
But most New Year’s resolutions barely make it out of January before being broken. Instead of setting yourself up to fail with a long list of unrealistic goals, why not start 2019 by pledging to do more together as a family?
Kids really flourish when they spend quality time with those they love. So instead of thinking of ways to deprive yourself in the New Year, choose a resolution you can stick to as a family.
A survey carried out earlier this year by Furniture123 found that just one in 10 parents read to their children on a nightly basis. But curling up together and sharing a story is a wonderful bonding experience and a way of escaping the stresses and strains of everyday life. Reading to your child will encourage them to turn to books for enjoyment as they grow older. And don’t be fooled into thinking that bedtime stories are just for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Older children also find being read to relaxing and it provides the perfect opportunity for them to talk to you about anything that has been worrying them at school or during the day.
Instead of shelling out for an expensive gym membership you might not use, why not find an activity you can do together as a family? Set aside some regular time in the week when you get out in the fresh air, whether it is going for a walk or taking the bikes out for a ride. If you’re not keen on the winter weather, you could head to the swimming pool or try something a bit different like trampolining, climbing, ice skating or tenpin bowling. One way of keeping everyone happy is for each of you to take turns choosing what you want to do or where you should go each week. As well as getting more active, you’ll be creating a whole host of childhood memories to cherish.
At the end of a busy week, sometimes all you want to do is unwind. Having a family film night is a great way of giving yourself time to relax while also spending quality time together. Take turns choosing what you’ll watch and seize the opportunity to share some classics from your own childhood. Treat the experience like you’re going to the cinema and get snacks to eat during the film, turn off any other distractions and dim the lights so you’re not tempted to multitask and do something else as well. Once the credits roll, ask each other about your favourite parts, what you thought of the characters and you could even give it a rating or write a review.
Lots of parents use things like sticker charts to encourage their children to behave but a family reward chart will encourage you all to work together for a common goal. Choose a treat you’ll all enjoy – this could be a big day out, a meal at your favourite restaurant or something fun like a new board game. Set yourself a communal target and award each other stickers for completing tasks around the home or being kind and helpful to each other. This system recognises positive behaviour but as you’re all working collaboratively and in a team, there are no winners or losers – it’s in everyone’s interests to work together to earn the reward. If you don’t want to create a chart, you could all work towards filling a jar with marbles instead.
This one sounds extremely simple but when you’re busy, it can be easy to forget to really listen to each other. Make a conscious effort to listen to everyone’s gripes and grumbles, celebrate their triumphs and pay attention to exactly what they are saying. Eating together as a family can provide an ideal opportunity for everyone to catch up and share something about their day. If that isn’t possible, you could hold regular family meetings where everyone is given the chance to talk about what is going on in their lives. Alternatively, go for a walk without any screens to distract you and take turns telling each other something which is important to you.