With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can often be a challenge for parents and kids to find quality time together. The good news is that this dream of building a stronger family connection is attainable. It can simply start with some strategic family New Year's resolutions. Best of all, when you make these goals as a family unit, you're more likely to stick to them. We detail the top New Year's resolutions ideas for families to consider, as well as the best ways to make these goals actually happen in the upcoming year.
1. Make Having Weekly Family Night a New Year's Resolution
Family moments matter. Designate one night a week to spending time together as a family. Play a board game, go for a walk, drive around and look at Christmas lights, or make a meal together. This may seem like a difficult task during a busy work week, but start with just an hour. This pause in your schedule will not only help you bond with your kids, but it can also be a great refresh during a hectic work week.
Key to Success: Chores Are a Family Affair
Maintaining a household is a lot - laundry, dishes, shopping, cleaning, yard work, dinner, bath times, pet care, and more. Sometimes it might seem like a never-ending list! If you want time for your family night, then everyone needs to pitch in with household duties. Even the littlest members of the household can help to do their share. Ask your toddler to clean up their toys and put laundry in the dirty clothes basket. Have older kids take on one extra chore each day. A chore chart is a great way to ensure that everyone knows what they are supposed to do each week, while not sticking someone with a task they hate for the long haul.
2. Plan a Family Vacation in the Year Ahead
Make this family resolution for the new year a group effort. Have everyone write down the top five things they would love to do on a family vacation. This can give you an idea of the type of trip to plan. If you're on a budget, as most families are, let your kids know the constraints before making their wish lists. For instance, "we will travel within the state" or "this is a driving trip that needs to be six hours or less." Then, try to incorporate something for everyone. This is a great way to get the whole family excited about the experience!
Key to Success: Find Money in Your Current Budget
Having kids is expensive - and most people live paycheck to paycheck. This can make the idea of a family vacation seem challenging to actually do. In reality, though, you likely have the funds and just don't know it. Look at your spending. Where can you cut? Do you have a streaming service that you don't really use? Could you substitute your cable package with Hulu + Live TV? When was the last time you called different insurance companies to compare rates? Do you actually use your gym membership or car wash club subscription?
Subscriptions and memberships are fantastic if you actually use them, but sometimes they take away money that could be put to better use. Cut the cord on waste! Next, consider signing up for a Costco or Sam's Club membership and buy in bulk. The yearly savings will surprise you! Finally, plan a garage sale. This will not only clear some junk out of your home, but it will also give you some cold hard cash. Your family vacation is waiting! All you have to do is build a better budget.
3. Prioritize Family Health and Sleep
This is always one of the most common New Year's resolutions, but after a holiday filled with hearty foods and sweet treats, it's a good idea to recharge your systems. Set a bedtime for everyone and stick to it. Make exercise a part of your family's routine. Swap out one snack each week for a healthier option. These should be small, simple changes. This helps to make them attainable goals that can lead to big health improvements.
Key to Success: Unplug Your Devices
Improved health and better sleep all start with one thing - getting off your butt! Pick a time to call it quits on all electronic devices each night and use that time to go for a family walk, play soccer in the backyard, or go bowling. Research has shown that both regular activity and less exposure to blue light in the evening can improve sleep quality. You can also enroll your kids in a sport or sign up for a family 5K each month. These are great activities that make certain that everyone is present and active.
4. Find Simple Ways to Give Back as a Family
Small acts of kindness can have a big impact on those who give and those who receive. By taking the time to give back to your community, you can teach your kids about compassion, empathy, generosity, and the importance of not judging a book by its cover. This family New Year's resolution can be done with kids of all ages.
Key to Success: Make Small, Thoughtful Gestures
Giving back doesn't have to take up a lot of time, nor should it cost a lot of money. You can take part in a used toy or coat drive, bring your elderly neighbor a homemade treat, help maintain a community garden, or walk dogs at a local shelter. This can be a part of your family night or a separate family activity.
5. Try Something New Together in the New Year
Once a month, plan a new and different activity for your family to try together. This can be a trip to the ice rink, a cooking class, a hike at your nearest national park, or a visit to the farmer's market. These excursions don't need to cost a lot of money either. They just need to allow you and your kids to explore your community and different pastimes. You never know when passion may strike. There's also the chance that it won't work out exactly as planned, but those moments sometimes make for the best memories!
Key to Success: Do Something New on a Weekly Family Night
Finding time to implement these goals can be difficult with everything else you have going on in life, so don't be afraid to double up. Try something new on one of your weekly family nights. This can spice things up and keep everyone excited about your new tradition.
6. Expand Your Family's Palate
Speaking of trying something new, another great family New Year's resolution is to change things up at the dinner table! Try out a new cuisine at least once a month. This can be a fantastic opportunity to experiment with new restaurants and styles of cooking. You or your kids may fall in love with a new type of food.
Key to Success: Keep Things Simple
Trying something new can be as simple as heading to the grocery store and picking out a passionfruit to try or grabbing black and purple carrots instead of the traditional orange. Don't let time or money become a constraint!
7. Prepare for the Unexpected
Another important New Year's resolution idea for families is to prepare and plan for the unexpected. Severe weather can strike at any time, and fires can ignite when you least expect it. That means that it's imperative that you have an emergency kit handy, a family meeting place both inside and outside of the home, and a designated route of escape. Go over how to use the fire extinguisher with older kids as well. Also, consider signing up for self defense and CPR classes. These are life skills that are always helpful for your kids to know.
Key to Success: Work Smarter, Not Harder
Gathering all the supplies for an emergency kit can be a challenge, but you can try options like Judy Emergency Kits for a simple solution. Or, turn it into something fun, like making it a scavenger hunt at the store to find all the items your family needs for their kit. You can also make safety classes another part of your weekly family nights. They can be a great bonding experience!
8. Practice Showing More Gratitude as a Family
You never know how long you have with the people you love. Let your kids and family members know how you feel about them. Acknowledge their accomplishments. Say thank you when they do something helpful. Kids are little sponges and will quickly mimic what you do. A little kindness and appreciation can go a long way.
Key to Success: Pay Attention During Everyday Activities
Observe your children. It will amaze you at what you have been missing. Did your kids compliment your new recipe? Do your teens rinse their dishes without being asked? Did your toddler say a new word or learn a new skill? Remember that praise and thanks should come during both big and small moments.
Make New Year's Resolutions Together for a Stronger Family Unit
Any real change requires work. In order to achieve these New Year's resolutions ideas for families, the whole family needs to be a part of the process, but that doesn't mean it can't be done in simple, practical ways - and even be fun. Involve your kids in the decision making and create a family calendar to help you stay on course. If you want to volunteer, ask your kids how they want to get involved. If you plan to implement a weekly family night, let each family member decide on five to ten different activities. By doing this, it gets everyone invested in the new traditions. Finally, do it in the way that works best for your family. If all eight of these family new year's resolutions seem like a lot to take on, pick out one or two to try, and then add more when the time becomes available.