It’s almost 2021, and with a new year comes fresh hope that this year will be better than the last. Beyond hoping for a smoother year than 2020, New Year’s offers the opportunity to commit to new goals, whether you vow to eat your vegetables, try a new hobby, exercise more or go to bed earlier.
Making resolutions doesn’t just have to be for adults—and it’s never too late to get started on them! Create a new family tradition and get your kids involved. Have a discussion about the New Year’s resolutions they’d like to help make for themselves and the whole family. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to get the conversation going. Happy New Year!
Resolution: Mindful Eating
Hello, fruits and veggies. Fit in more of the good stuff by approaching meals with fruits and veggies first. Fill each plate at least halfway with a range of different options. Make sure to choose plates that are suitable for their age: Aim for a six-inch plate for toddlers and a nine-inch plate for kids and early adolescents. If your kids tend to push them away, try to get creative and make it fun by getting your kids involved at mealtime (a few suggestions here!). Or, challenge the family to eat an entire rainbow in one day, and let your little ones choose each item.
Goodbye, sugar. Cut out refined sugar at home wherever possible. Scan ingredients and nutrition labels for the common forms of sugar including evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup and fruit juice concentrate. Everyday products, such as applesauce, dried and canned fruit, pasta sauce and other condiments are all foods in which added sugars could be hiding. Make sure to compare products and select ones with the least amount of added sugar. Also, focus on consuming fresh fruits instead of fruit juice. Keep desserts and sugar-rich snacks in the house to a minimum, and if your kids are accustomed to having something sweet after dinner, consider naturally sweetened options such as fruit and oat combinations, or yogurt with honey.
Drink more water. It can be easy to forget to drink enough water, especially when you’re running around all day. Make it a habit to drink more water and less sugary beverages such as soda and juice. You can also offer alternatives such as sliced fruit in water.
Resolution: Get Active
Exercise more. Winter can be a challenging season to stay active, but a little creativity can help you and your family get active. Head to an outdoor trail for a family walk or make a trip to an ice-skating rink. On the days you’d rather stay home, have your kids “teach” a fitness class to the family, lead family-friendly yoga poses or pick out their favorite playlist and have a dance party.
Limit screen time. With outdoor activities less of an option, it can be tempting to give into TV, movies and video games. Make a commitment to limit screen time, and have a list of ideas ready when your kids want to turn on a device. Play a board game, read a book together, do an art project, cook a meal—and check out our list of indoor winter activities.
Still go outside. There’s a reason winter gear exists! Even if it’s cold out, a bit of fresh air will do the whole family good. Just make sure to bundle up your little ones. Most of their skin should be covered; hats and gloves are a must! Head outdoors, from a short walk around the neighborhood to a play session at your nearest playground. If there’s snow, build a snowman, go sledding or build a fort. You could also entice the kids to help shovel—which is great exercise—with a small reward or treat at the end.
Resolution: Make Small Changes
Find a hobby. Healthy eating and an active lifestyle are a great place to start with New Year’s resolutions, but also set a goal for yourself and your family that has more to do with quality of life. Discovering a new hobby is a great starting place, and the sky’s the limit. A new interest could be anything from an artistic or creative skill—like painting, drawing or sculpting—to joining a local club or group. Need some inspiration to get started? Try out KiwiCo. This subscription service offers hands-on activity crates for ages 0-16+, so your kids can enjoy learning and creating something new every month.
Carve out family time. Life can be hectic, but make a decision to set aside time to spend together as a family. You may be able to fold clothes or set the table faster on your own, but involving your kids can be a valuable teaching lesson. Invent a family cleanup game. Don’t wait for the holidays or vacations to connect, create a family calendar on your smartphone that syncs across different phones to stay up-to-date on all the activities. Save time and money by purchasing groceries, staples and ready-to-eat meals online. Do the things that make you happy and less stressed, all while incorporating your whole family!
Set personal and family goals. Brainstorm a specific goal that would help your family in day-to-day life. Is it creating a morning routine so you’re not rushed before heading out the door? Getting everyone to sleep through the night? Assigning chores? Going green to help reduce waste? Decide on one or two things you feel can make an impact for your family, and discuss with your kids why it’s good to have these goals. In addition, work with your kids to develop their own personal goals. Encourage preschoolers to work on listening and helping skills, school-age children to improve what they are struggling with and adolescents to take more responsibility for their actions.
No matter what your resolutions are for this year, have confidence in yourself and your family that you can stick to them! Family resolutions are a way for everyone to get involved—so here’s to a bright (and better!) year.