After January 1, it seems everyone is working to improve their diet or workout regime as they proclaim their New Year’s resolutions. A great way to bring your family closer in the coming year is for everyone to take part in those resolutions.

Tips for Family Resolutions:

  • Setting reasonable goals
  • Make them specific and concrete
  • Follow-through

For example, if your goal is, “we should spend more time together as a family,” you should be more specific like, “Every Friday is game night.” Then, every Friday, decide on a specific time that the whole family will get together. Details like time and day of the week help you keep track and accomplish your goal.

Older children may become interested in setting their own resolutions. If they have a hard time coming up with resolutions, you can help them by asking a series of questions, such as, “Are there things you want to learn or are there things you want to change?”

It’s important to make sure you are not pushing the child into a goal because they are less likely to meet it, if they feel pressure. You can, however, guide them. If you have a young child who has trouble with sharing, you can tell them you will help them work on this goal.

The  American Academy of Pediatrics has put together a list of resolutions to help families come up with ideas:

5 to 12 year olds

  • Do a sport or activity three times a week
  • Wear a helmet when bicycling
  • Make friends with someone new, especially a kid who is shy or new to school

13 years old and up

  • Eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day
  • Play only non-violent video games or watch only non-violent televisions shows for only one or two hours a day
  • Help out in the community by volunteering
  • Never text or use a cellphone while driving

All of these resolutions are beneficial to the whole family. Parents can even accomplish multiple goals of improving diet and exercise together as a family, just by planning to eat a healthy dinner together every night, followed by a family activity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eleanor Mackey, PhD, is a child psychologist and works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Mackey is also a mother of two girls.

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