Resolutions we make at the beginning of the year often play a significant role in determining its outcome. After numerous failed attempts at the same menial resolutions year after year, I came to the realization that it was time to rethink my aspirations. Upon doing so I figured out where my heart truly was, and consequently were my inspiration for growth was residing.
The family is what matters most in my life. Creating a strong bond as well as instilling compassion and resiliency into my kids is of the utmost importance. To help achieve this I compiled a list of four inspirational practices with the intention of turning them into family habits.
Four Fantastic Resolutions for Your Kids
Commit to Family meetings
Family meetings come highly recommended by psychologists for good reason. Implementing structure, opening lines of communication, time spent together, and problem-solving is but a few of the many benefits of regular family meetings. My family experimented with meetings in the past and the kids loved them! It gives them a sense of belonging and importance. These two feelings are essential to building a solid foundation of confidence and compassion.
Doing them on a consistent basis, however, proved to be a challenge. In the new year, my resolution is to conduct them weekly. In our weekly meetings, we will discuss things such as activities, goals, accomplishments, concerns, chores, and school.
Encourage Gratitude Journals
Gratitude is a key component to happiness, yet so few of us practice it enough. It is super easy to fall into the trap of always wanting more. The newest gadget, latest fashion trend, or luxurious spa treatments all prove to be very enticing in a society obsessed with material objects and superficial facades. Things only provide us with temporary happiness. Experiences and more importantly relationships are what bring us lasting joy, but only if we recognize and appreciate them.
This year my kids, fiancé and I will be writing down at least three things every day that we are grateful for. This practice will help ground us by reminding ourselves to focus on all the positive stuff that is already abundant in our lives.
Set-Up Some Volunteering Time
Volunteering is a wonderful way to strengthen a family’s bond while fostering empathy in children. We can preach to our kids all day long about how lucky they are to have so much, while others have so little. Most parents know, however, that often kids do as they see not as they’re told.
Seeing struggles that people face makes it real while discovering that they alone can make a difference in the lives of others makes it magical! Committing acts of kindness together as a family not only strengthens the bond but also creates a powerful opportunity to encourage one another to be compassionate human beings.
There are many opportunities for a family to volunteer together:
- Organize a neighborhood clean-up
- Donate old toys and clothes to a homeless shelter
- Adopt a family for the holidays
- Assist an elderly neighbor with daily chores
- Have a family yard sale and donate earnings to a charity
- Help an animal shelter by cleaning cages and walking dogs
- Donate books, movies, and video games to a children’s hospital
- Volunteer at a nursing home to read or sing to the residents
- Serve food at a soup kitchen or donate to a food drive
- Participate in a charity walk
In the new year, I plan on utilizing our family meetings to discuss the importance of volunteering. I will ask the kids what charities and organizations they would like to volunteer for, then devise a schedule to fit in at least one choice per family member for the year.
Say Yes to More Time at the Table
Researchers recommend eating one meal together at least five times a week to produce significant benefits. Some of the benefits of family meals include a decreased risk of eating disorders, obesity, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. It also results in elevated levels of self-esteem as well as higher grade point averages. This, of course, works best sans television and electronic devices.
Engaging in meaningful conversation and being fully present is key, as is consistency. One of my resolutions for this year is to create a consistent family mealtime per the recommended guidelines. We will unplug from our virtual realities, so we can fully embrace our authentic one.
Family-focused resolutions benefit us all
Every family in our era of technology overload and fast-paced living could use a little more togetherness. I hope my list of bond building resolutions can help inspire other families needing more of a connection.
We only get one chance to parent our children and it goes by faster than we realize. Slowing our roll and embracing all the moments is the only way to really be there for our children and give them the loving guidance they need to become healthy, compassionate adults.