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Published on December 19, 2019

family snow tubing

Family New Year’s Resolutions

This time of year has many people thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. Adults often commit to new fitness routines or lifestyle changes in the New Year. What about involving the whole family in New Year’s resolutions? Now can be an opportune time to encourage the whole family to be more positive and make healthier choices.

The age of your children may affect how much guidance they might need to make some of these changes together. So here are some fun ways to promote mental and physical health in the New Year.

  • Spend more time outdoors. Being outdoors helps promote a sense of peace and boosts your immune system. You could plan a skiing or tubing day or make a goal to take a 10-minute walk every evening.
  • Practice thankfulness as a family. When we model gratitude we teach our children to be appreciative of what they have.
  • Put down the screens, this means parents too. When kids have to compete with our screens to get our attention we send them a message that they aren’t a priority.
  • Start a weekly family night. This could be a board game night or a family cooking night. If your kids are teens you could set up a cooking competition where you get to be the judge.
  • Give warm and thoughtful hellos and goodbyes. Making sure family members feel loved when they leave and enter the home is a simple way to improve the relationships in your family.
  • Exercise together. This can be adjusted to the age of your children. Older children may be interested in a long bike ride whereas preschoolers may enjoy doing a yoga video together.
  • Volunteer as a family. Giving back to our community is always an important value to teach our children.
  • Stop distracted driving. If your teen sees you texting and driving they will probably follow your example not your advice.
  • Eat healthy. Talk with your children about making healthy food choices and what that entails. Then make an effort to purchase and prepare a variety of healthy food options.
  • Read more. Encourage young children to read by providing a variety of books to them. Visit the library together frequently and make it a habit to read together every day.
  • Model and encourage kindness and good manners in your home.
  • Get more sleep. Make sure you and your family have a healthy sleep routine. If you or your children have fallen into unhealthy sleep habits over the holidays, now is the time to reset. Make sure that all screens are turned off an hour before bed and are kept out of the bedroom.
  • Encourage children to help more around the house.  Explain that when they complete their chores in a timely manner they have more time to participate in other activities. Adjust your child’s chore chart to fit their age and skill level. A 5-year-old’s chores may include feeding the family pet, picking up their room, and making their bed. A 10-year-old may be responsible for loading the dishwasher after dinner and helping with yard work.

New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to improve the family dynamics in your home. These tips may get your family thinking of new ways to work together to improve your emotional and physical health and strengthen family bonds. Have a very Happy New Year!

By Patricia Bates, Family Life Educator, Women’s and Children’s Community Outreach Education, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

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