It’s time once again for Heather Johnson from Family Volley as part of her “Parenting Tips” here on The Idea Room. Here’s Heather in her own words.
What a wonderful time of year. Hopefully your homes have been filled with family, togetherness, and the spirit of the season.
It is also a time of year for renewal and re-commitment. New Years Resolutions aren’t just for us as individuals, they are for families too!
There are lots of approaches for making family resolutions. One that is always fun, is to choose a theme. This could be a key word (such as service, love, kindness, or organization.)
You can also choose a motto, quote, or a saying that represents a focus your family would like to have for the upcoming year.
Or you can choose a weakness that your family would like to make a strength. Let that be your focus for the year, and create a few resolutions focused around that strength.
When you are ready to establish some resolutions, gather the entire family together. It is much more powerful to make the decisions together and have the input of the entire family. Plus, when everyone is involved in the decision making, they will be much more likely to commit and follow through. They will take ownership because they had a say.
Then, start by focusing on all of the things your family did well during the last year. If you have a white board, or even just a piece of paper, write all the strengths down for everyone to see. This is an important step. Remember, you are focusing on the family as a whole. Don’t start pointing out individual weaknesses of family members.
Then, once you have built your family up, start talking about what you would like to focus on and change. A good place to start, have everyone in the family suggest a weakness they see your family has, and/or something they would like to see different or changed, or do more of.
Take a vote and have everyone weight in and narrow the suggestions down to two or three. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Choosing 20 resolutions for your family is setting yourselves up for failure.
Once you have chosen your 2-3 resolutions, establish the details. It isn’t just about the goals. You also need to establish how you will reach your goals.
The last step during your resolution setting meeting, is to schedule follow up family meetings. Your family should sit down each month and evaluate how the resolutions are going.
If you are not sure what resolutions would be good for your family. Here are three that every family should implement this year, and every year.
1. Commit to eat dinner together at least 5 days a week. I recognize that this may seem like a lofty charge, but eating together has benefits beyond belief. For starters, children who eat dinner together with their families are less likely to get involved in drugs and alcohol. They also get better grades, are more adjusted, and better able to handle stress and disappointment. That alone, is a great reason. On top of that, research shows that around the dinner table is where families used to teach morals and values. But now that families eat together less, where are children learning these skills? They aren’t. They are learning from television. We need to gather our children back around our own tables to reconnect and teach.
If dinner doesn’t work for your family, try breakfast. If 5 times is more than you can do, then do what you can.
2. Plan one family activity each week. It is true, families that play together, stay together. Family activities provide opportunities for families to bond in a non threatening environment. These activities also provide families opportunities to develop adaptation and negation skills. Don’t just talk about it. Put it on the calendar. Schedule it into your life just like your other obligations to ensure that it will happen. Consider it the most important event on your calendar each week.
3. Work together. Family work is vital. It is key to raising moral children. Instead of keeping our children from work, rally together and work together each week. It can be household work, yard work, or a project that you choose specifically for this resolution. Regardless of the task, do it together. You will be amazed at how it strengthens.
Don’t just sit down and plan out your personal resolutions for 2013. Take some time to create resolutions for your family also, and watch 2013 be your families best year EVER!
Does your family set New Year’s Resolutions?
What can you see your family working on this year?