New Year’s Resolutions for the Whole Family

As 2010 comes to an end, many of us are thinking about the changes we should make for 2011.  Whether it’s losing weight, spending more time with our families or saving more money, the New Year is an opportunity to create a better you.  Everyone should strive to improve themselves and that includes the whole family, even the little ones. 
Making changes can actually be turned into a great activity for you and your child.  Write down three goals that will help you improve as a parent, and help your child write down three things he/she wants to change as well.  Discuss and help each other figure out the ways you both plan on achieving your 2011 goals.  Throughout the year, look back at your lists often to see your progress, or as a reminder in case one or both parties have gotten off track.  Here are some examples of what a parent and child list could look like.  Allow the little ones to personalize their work by adding fun stickers and colorful drawings.  
Try and not worry about always making the house look perfect
-Use that extra cleaning time to sit down with the kids and play.
-Be more realistic in terms of what I expect from myself as a Mom, i.e. cleaning up the playroom three times a day vs. once at the end of the day.
-Ask the kids to pitch in and clean up after themselves, i.e. putting toys away, helping to clean the table, etc.
Be a more patient parent
-Before I speak, take a second to regroup and think about the situation instead of just reacting.
-Get more sleep and exercise, to improve my mood and energy levels.
-Practice patience when dealing with everyday situations, i.e. the line at the bank, traffic, etc.
Create more “Me” time
-Put less on my daily plate and find ways to become more efficient with my time.
-Put the kid’s to bed a bit earlier.
-Hire a sitter for a few hours to pamper myself.
Not get so frustrated every time I can’t do something
-Take a breath, be positive and have confidence.
-Remember the words from The Little Engine That Could: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”.
-Learn that it’s okay to not be perfect at everything.   
Eating more vegetables
-I will be big and strong like Daddy. Vegetables will help my body and mind grow.
-Eating healthy can be fun.  I will participate in Veggie Color night, i.e. broccoli can be served for Green night, and sweet potatoes can be served for Orange night. 
-When I eat my vegatables, Mommy and Daddy will be proud of me.
Using words instead of whining to explain what I need
-It’s easier for people to understand what my needs are.
-It helps Mommy be a more patient parent.
-Whining will not allow for dessert or fun activities.
While doing this exercise with your kids, you will learn a lot about yourself and each other, and in the end, become a better parent.   It’s a great habit to create these open conversations with your child and let them know it’s not only them that can strive to better themselves, but, you too.  When they know you are asking the same of you as you are of them, it creates a great environment for everyone.
Happy New Year!