As this year winds down, you might be thinking about what you can do in the upcoming year to improve family life. It can be a good idea to sit down with the family and set some New Year’s resolutions that will make life happier and healthier for everyone. We’ve come up with some inspiration to help you get started.
1. Have Family Meetings
Getting together for a quick family meeting each week can be helpful to check in with everyone and prepare for the week ahead. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes on Sundays to discuss appointments, school assignments, work schedules, practices, lessons chore lists, and social events. You can also keep a big calendar in a common space and write everything down for all to see.
2. Make an Emergency Plan
While it’s not the most fun or uplifting thing to think about, deciding on a family emergency plan is critical for ensuring safety in your home. Make sure everyone in the house knows how to stay safe in an emergency like a fire, tornado, hurricane or earthquake. Come up with a plan to ensure that everyone, including pets, gets out of the house if necessary.
3. Start Weekly Traditions
Find something simple you can do every week to create a fun family tradition. Whether it’s playing a board game one evening each week or sitting down for a special meal on certain nights are just two options. You’d be surprised at the quality time you can get in during a simple game night or Taco Tuesday.
4. Get Active Together
Find family-friendly activities that will get you all moving. And if it gets you outside, all the better. Visit local parks and trails to walk, ride bikes, or hike. Play catch, tag, or kickball in the yard (space permitting). Find a basketball court and play a game to 21.
5. Eat Well
Make it a new year’s resolution for your family to eat more nutritious foods and fewer processed foods. Get kids excited about eating well by having them find healthy recipes to make, or figure out how to make comfort food healthier. To make meal planning easier, have each family member give at least one idea for a meal each week.
6. Set Aside Device-Free Time
It seems like everyone is connected to an electronic device in some form or another for most of the day. If you and your children are all looking at screens while you’re together, you’re not getting quality time in. Designate times when everyone – including the adults – have to unplug. This may mean having a device curfew during the week or limiting screen time on weekends. Phones, tablets, computers, video games, and even your smartwatch should all be off-limits during these times.
7. Make Room for Reading
Another thing you can do when devices are out of the way is read. Whether your child wants to read with you or on their own, make reading more one of your family’s new year’s resolutions. Go on family trips to the local library to find new favorites or reread old ones. Make it something fun to look forward to instead of a chore.
8. Stick to Bedtimes
Make a New Year’s resolution for everyone to get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a child’s sleep requirements change with age. For children ages 3-16 years old, for example, the recommendation is 9 to 11 hours. So make sure kids get to bed on time. If you’ve strayed from your bedtime routine during the year, recommit to it. If you’ve never had a bedtime routine, come up with one to help kids get used to settling in.
9. Set Aside One-On-One Time
It’s great to spend time as an entire family, but it is also important to have some time one-on-one with your spouse or partner. Schedule date nights where it’s just the two of you regularly. If your schedule allows it, try to make one of your new year’s resolutions to do this a couple of times a month, but make it a priority at least once a month.
Make an Appointment
The team at Carithers Pediatric Group is here to provide comprehensive care for your children at all stages of life. If you have questions about how your kids can have a healthier year and want to contact us and make an appointment, call our Riverside office at (904) 387-6200 or our Southside office at (904) 997-0023.