Nobody would argue that the past couple of years haven’t been rough. Dealing with the ups and downs of Covid have been physically and emotionally draining on everyone, to say the least. As we say goodbye to 2022, many of us have hopes for another new year filled with togetherness and a slow progression towards something that looks a bit closer to normal. If you’re trying to think of some family New Year’s resolutions to help everyone under your roof live their best lives, we’ve come up with ten suggestions!
10 Family New Year’s Resolutions
1. Make Family Meals More Intentional
I’m sure that anyone with school-aged kids will agree that weeknights are pretty darn hectic, and sometimes just getting everybody fed before they rush out the door to sports, lessons, or clubs counts as a win. Knowing that, looking for ways to make mealtimes together a little more intentional when you can sit down together is a great way to slow down and reconnect. Some families have set conversation starters for mealtimes so that everyone comes to the table (literally) with something to share. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy setting aside this time to sit down together as one of the family New Year’s Resolutions worth attempting.
2. Limit Screen Time
I know, I know. This is a tough one, and this won’t be the first (or the last) resolution list you find it on. Most of us can admit that glancing at our phones, computers, or TV screens is a habit we’d like to cut down on, at least a little bit. According to a 2021 survey conducted by Statistics Canada, over 60% of Canadian parents reported concerns about their children’s screen time due to the pandemic. A 2019 survey conducted by Alcon Canada found Canadian adults reporting that they were spending nearly 11 hours per day in front of a screen, between work and free time. As you’re probably aware, increased screen time can have negative impacts on physical and mental health, so finding ways to scale back is always beneficial.
3. Schedule Family Time
With everyone in the family having busy schedules of their own, sometimes the best way to ensure that you have a chance to spend time together is to mark it on the calendar, so everyone can join in. (This means “couple time” too). Whether your time is spent sharing a meal, watching a movie, or playing a game, you’ll be glad you set aside a few hours to catch up. To mix things up, put a different person in charge of planning your activity each week!
4. Start a New Hobby
Whether you’re looking for a new hobby for yourself, or want to gather up everyone in the fam to try something different, a new year is a perfect time to add a new skill to your repertoire. The sky’s the limit when it comes to options. Do you want to buff up your cooking skills? Sharpen your pencils and brush up on your artistic abilities? Start building up endurance for your first 5k? If you want to start something new together as a family, sit down and dream of ideas that everyone can enjoy and participate in at a level they’re comfortable with. Starting a new hobby together is a fantastic way to make memories, build opportunities to communicate, and strengthen your bonds as a family.
5. Volunteer Together
There are so many reasons why volunteering provides huge benefits to your community, but have you thought about the positive effects on yourself and your family? Volunteering with your kids helps to build empathy and understanding that can enable them to stand up against stereotypes, and also provides opportunities to learn new skills. Showing your kids that you value a spirit of generosity is something that they will (hopefully!) hang onto and want to replicate as they get older.
6. Read Together
Spending time together to read isn’t just an important part of your kids’ bedtime routine. Reading together helps your children to build their comprehension skills by growing their vocabulary and expanding their background knowledge. When reading out loud, you also model fluency and expression and help young children build their understanding of print concepts like holding a book the right way up and knowing how the words work on the page. All of these ideas may seem simple, but they are essential pillars in building your child’s reading skills! As kids get older, whether you’re reading the same book together, or reading your own books at the same time, you’re helping to build a love of literacy that will last a lifetime.
7. Cook Together
This is one of those family New Year’s resolutions that could end up benefitting everyone in the family, not just because it will help to bond over your shared love of a great meal, but because it can also build everyone’s skills in the kitchen. Maybe someday, your kids will take the lead and prepare your dinner for a change! Whether you’re sitting together to plan your next healthy meal, or practicing chopping, grilling, and plating skills, there’s room for everyone in the family to get involved. Even little kids love to help measure and stir, so prepare for mouth-watering results!
8. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude may start by teaching kids to say their “please” and “thank you”s, but it can grow so much from that simple practice, and its benefits to your mind and body are numerous. Although it may seem like a no-brainer, practicing gratitude can lead to increased optimism, an improvement in forming and strengthening relationships, a positive impact on mental health, and even a boost for your immune system, thanks to a decrease in stress.
What are ways you can work on practicing gratitude? There are many! Sharing things you’re grateful for as a family, through conversations, gratitude jars, or gratitude mapping (think: adding notes of gratitude to a board in a central place in your home) are all great places to start. Many people enjoy journaling, praying, or meditating as another way to practice gratitude.
9. Exercise Together
What’s an activity that everyone in your family enjoys? Is it bike riding? Swimming? Playing basketball? If everyone in the family has something in common they enjoy doing, make a point of trying to do some of those things together to build your skills and bond at the same time. If everyone in the family has a different active hobby, why not take turns trying out each other’s interests and taking the opportunity to learn that skill from your family’s resident expert? There are many physical and mental benefits of being active together, and you’re modelling healthy habits for your kiddos as they get older, while building healthy habits of your own! You may want to start by planning an activity a few times per week, and increasing as you go.
10. Make a Photo Album
Chances are, you’re already in the habit of capturing special family moments on your phone. But what do you do with those photos once you’ve taken them? Sure, looking back on treasured memories while scrolling through your device is nice, but printing out those photos to store in a good old-fashioned photo album is extra special. There are many ways to create photo albums, from printing off 4×6 photos and slotting them into a traditional album, to uploading photos online and printing them into photo books, using sites like Costco, Chatbooks, or any of the ones we’ve rounded up here! Sitting down to look through these albums is guaranteed to be a favourite family activity for years to come.
Are you planning to make some Family New Year’s Resolutions? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!