New Year’s Family Resolutions

by Vincent Iannelli, MD, FAAP

The coming of a new year is good time to make a fresh start and rethink how you do things. Although new year’s resolutions are helpful for individuals, they can also be used by the whole family.
So this year, in addition to the resolutions that all of us make to eat healthier and exercise more, how about getting the family together and come up with some resolutions for all of you to make together?
Having trouble coming up with some resolutions? Consider starting with the old standbys, including eating well and getting more active. Your family might also resolve to spend more time together, be more patient with each other, fight and argue less, and be more accepting of each other.

After that, just look at problem areas in your home and resolve to work on making them better.

Family Fitness

Becoming more active is something that almost every family needs to do. Going on family walks, bike rides, or roller blading can be a fun way for the whole family to get exercise and spend more time together.

Healthy Diets
Most families could also work on eating a more healthy diet.

First off, your family should resolve to make to make mealtimes pleasant. No fighting over ‘cleaning your plate’or what everyone wants to eat and have everyone sit together at the table with the TV off. Mealtimes should be enjoyable and pleasant and not a source of struggle.
Next, resolve to eat healthier with average size portions of well balaced, healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and foods that are baked, broiled or steamed, rather than fried.

Family Time
It is also important for families to spend more time together. And sitting in front of the TV doesn’t usually count. Instead, find time to play games together, talk, go on walks, etc.
With working parents and a lot of children’s activities, it can sometimes be hard to find time to spend together. You should resolve to eat at least one meal together and have one other family activity that you schedule each week.
As you spend more time together, all family members can also resolve to spend less time watching TV or playing on the computer.
Better Communication
Spending more time together can help for all family members to understand each other and learn to communicate more effectively. This might include giving each other more positive feedback and reinforcement, yelling and nagging each other less, and sharing what happens in each other’s day.
Parenting Resolutions
Parents can also make resolutions to be better parents by being more consistent in the way that they discipline their children, taking extra steps to keep their kids safe and healthy, and by being a good role model.

Kids’ Resolutions

You can also help your kids to make some resolutions. Do they need help with their behavior, doing chores, going to bed, etc? Do they need to be less angry or perform better at school? Whatever your child needs to do better, you can talk about what you can do to help them do it. This might include gentle reminders or a star chart.