Individual goals and resolutions are important. They help us propel ourselves forward, hopefully morphing us into better people along the way.
But you can gain many of the same benefits by setting family goals and resolutions, too. Engaging in goal setting as a family allows you to collectively reach greater heights, bringing you closer together in the process.
With that in mind, here are ten ideas for New Year’s resolutions you can set as a family.
Establish Family Night
Want screen-free time with the kids? Set up a weekly family night. Make it fun, with each family member planning a group activity on a rotating basis.
Yes, everyone will have to put the phones away, but you shift focus away from this restriction by giving them the freedom to choose the family’s activities.
Write a Chore Chart
With everyone at home more often, there’s more mess to clean up. Spread this responsibility out more evenly by creating a chore chart together.
After you’ve listed out all of the chores, give each family member the opportunity to choose a chore in rotating order. Keep going around the circle until all of the chores are assigned. This way, there might be a chore or two they dread, but there will also be one or two they picked of their own will.
You can renew chore chart selection every month to keep everyone’s feelings of ‘fairness’ intact.
Get Your Financial House in Order
When you have kids, there are so many different ways to work on family financial resolutions. You might start doling out an allowance, setting up ‘money dates’ with each child as you teach them about saving, spending and giving.
You and your spouse might update your will and other legal documents to make sure the children are taken care of even under adverse circumstances.
You might gather everyone together to discuss 529 plans and college savings, deciding how you’ll each contribute to these educational goals over the next year.
Whatever your financial goal is, make sure it’s trackable and that you set up family accountability meetings to measure your progress.
Want your family to eat healthier?
Frame healthy eating goals as together time. Let’s say you establish one day per week that you’ll cook together. As you plan your meals, make sure the recipes you’re picking are healthy.
As your children cook alongside you, they’ll learn healthy habits and cooking skills. They still might not eat everything that’s prepared, but they’re more likely to engage if they have a sense of pride in participating in the final dish.
These lessons can carry over throughout the week. Eventually, you may even have your children cooking healthy meals for the entire family on their own.
If you are setting fitness resolutions with your family, your exercise routine will look different depending on your children’s age. For example, if you have toddlers, you may want to research fitness routines that integrate the kids’ play.
If you have older children, you may want to set up exercise routines the same way you set up family nights -- on a rotating basis. Each family member could pick a work out routine for the week for everyone to engage in.
You don’t have to get too fancy with this one. Even something as simple as going on walks or hikes together regularly can help your family reap health benefits.
Reading together at all ages has benefits. The youngest infants gain exposure to language rhythm and speech segmentation by listening to adults read. This practice can also help build literacy in young school-aged children.
Reading together can help you strengthen your relationship with your teen, too. You can gain insights and build time for reflection together by reading anything from your family’s religious text to whatever’s currently assigned in their lit class.
There are all sorts of ways to make your life greener. Brainstorming them with your family can help you find ideas that you and your kids will actually be excited about implementing. Here are some ideas to get your brainstorm session started:
- Start a compost pile.
- Learn how to recycle correctly.
- Invest in solar panels.
- If you live in a state with a deregulated energy market, you can shop for a green energy generator to make your electricity and heating bill more eco-friendly.
Volunteer as a Family
Volunteering teaches your children to think outside of themselves. It’s a habit that can have positive health benefits for the rest of their lives. Establishing it as a habit early ups the odds that it will be something they continue into their adult lives.
Volunteering as a family may still look different for some months, as the necessity for social distancing continues amidst vaccine distribution. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give back.
Some volunteer organizations may need drivers for contactless deliveries of food or other goods. For others, simply fulfilling an order online or donating non-perishable food can be a huge help. Look locally for these opportunities as so much of the response to the numerous disasters our country has experienced over the past year has been decentralized.
When we do new things, our brains often release a bunch of feel-good chemicals. When we do those new things with other people, it helps strengthen our relationships as we associate those people with the positive feelings.
Traveling like we all used to may still be risky for a while yet, but there are plenty of ways to adventure with your family without heading on vacation. Try exploring outdoor spaces in your own backyard that you may have overlooked in the past. Subscription boxes can provide lots of opportunities for new experiences and learning together.
Get creative with doing new things -- even during social distancing. Novel activities in all forms can help you bond and serve as a positive family New Year’s resolution.
Schedule ‘Date’ Nights
Another great family resolution that helps build relationships is date nights. Yes, date nights with your spouse away from the kids are important.
But so is scheduling in 1:1 time for each of your children with each parent. It doesn’t matter so much what you’re doing; even if movie theaters and restaurants are not safe for a little while more, you can watch a movie or cook together at home. Read a book or play video games. Whatever you end up doing, the important part is that you’re spending that time together.