New Year’s Resolutions for the Whole Family

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New Year’s resolutions are usually about self-improvement. However, many of them last only a few weeks before they are totally forgotten – and life goes on as usual. This year, try making those New Year’s resolutions a family affair.   

Bond During Family Dinner

One night a week, turn off all electronic devices as you sit down at the dinner table as a family – and actually talk to each other. Dinner certainly does not have to be elaborate; it could even be take-out or something that’s simmered in the Crock-Pot all day. The point here is real conversation. Each of you could talk about your day’s experiences and build a conversation around that. You might go over the events happening in the community this week and plan to attend one together. You may just be surprised how much you learn to appreciate each other as you get to know each other better. 

Volunteer as a Family
Another great idea for a family New Year’s resolution is deciding to volunteer together. Look in the local newspaper or go online for available opportunities in your area. Animal shelters, libraries, public parks, and hospitals are always in need of volunteers. Pick a good time of the week for this, and remember that not everybody has to do the same thing. Most volunteers will find several options available within the same institution. You can keep the conversation going by talking about your volunteer experiences with each other. 

Have a Movie Night
Instead of staying in and streaming a movie, choose one Saturday night a month to take the family to a real movie in a real theater, and pass a huge bucket of popcorn around. There are many movies that appeal to all ages. You might find out that you really enjoyed an all-ages movie you never would have gone to before. Take turns picking the movie, and afterward discuss your favorite scenes, perhaps at your favorite place to eat or over ice cream. 

Improve the Family’s Eating Habits

The easiest way to eat healthier as a family is to simply avoid junk food when stocking the refrigerator and pantry. Don’t fill your grocery cart with sugary sodas, sweet treats, and processed foods loaded with preservatives. This certainly does not mean that everything must be made from scratch. The kid’s beloved peanut butter and jelly are fine; choose to make healthier substitutions, like switching to whole wheat bread instead of white. 

If some of your family members are picky about eating vegetables, find a way to sneak them into meals and snacks by disguising them. Put cheese sauce over cauliflower and broccoli. Keep cut-up, bite-sized celery and carrot sticks in the refrigerator within easy reach of ranch dip. Make beef stew, and load it with vegetables. Get a great chance to be creative and have fun. You might ask family members for ideas, too. 

Set Aside Time for Family Exercise
You can choose from a variety of physical activities. The requirements: It must include the entire family, and it must be fun. Team sports such as baseball, dodgeball or soccer can be a good choice if there is a park nearby or you have a spacious back yard. Playing Frisbee and catch are also great options, especially if there is a family dog. 

The idea is to get together, unplug all devices, pay attention to each other and have fun. Reaching goals is much easier as a group than as an individual. It teaches valuable lessons in accountability, compromise, teamwork and mutual respect. 

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