by Lisa Nord Seplak
Get your game on and exercise. Pick a day and start a regular exercise program. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a family walk. Set a goal of three times a week. Or just get outside and play with your kids. It doesn’t matter what you do – soccer, skating, basketball, etc. The goal is physical activity and making it a habit for you and your family.
Read together. It doesn’t have to stop once your children can read by themselves. Let them pick a book for you to read aloud together. You read a page, and then your child reads a page. Think of the interesting dinner table discussions you can have about your book. Of course, if your kids are small, it’s always fun and educational to read to them.
Raise compassionate kids by volunteering. Check with your local food pantry, humane society, or senior center to find out ways your family can help. Collect donations and send care packages to our troops. Help clean up your local park or wildlife preserve. Volunteer with a local charity or sign up for a fundraiser walk or run. Ask about opportunities with your kids’ school or with local religious organizations.
Start a family savings plan. It’s never too early to teach children the value of money and the importance of saving. Make your plan and have every family member contribute, no matter the amount. It doesn’t matter if the kids’ money is earned through outside jobs or allowance. The contribution is what’s important. After your money starts to add up, make plans to do something fun together. Or purchase something everyone can enjoy. Or better yet, continue saving for that trip to Disney World.
Learn something new. Have you always wanted to try snowboarding, skiing or skating? What about scrapbooking, sewing or jewelry making? Get your kids to try it with you and join in the fun. Follow up with your local park district or community center to see what activities they offer.
Conquer clutter and get organized. A great way to start the New Year is to clean the house, which helps clear your mind. Have your kids help; go from room to room, closet by closet. Have three bags to separate the items you want to get rid of: give away, throw away, or garage sale. Don’t wait. Haul your donations to a local charity, and plan a garage sale for the spring. Then relax and enjoy your new uncluttered home.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. Chances are good your kids have already learned this in school, so continue the practice at home. Use reusable sports bottles for water, cloth bags for the grocery store, and washable cloth napkins instead of paper. As a project, try making a compost bin. Always recycle whatever you can. See what ideas your kids can come up with.
Cook with your kids. It can be something as simple as cookies or homemade pizza. Or plan a nacho/taco bar or a do-it-yourself salad bar. Try “theme” dinners like a Mexican, Italian or Chinese night. Have your kids help with shopping and meal planning. Then let them pick a night to plan the menu and prepare their own favorite foods.
Spend more time with family and friends. Slow down and unplug the TV, video games and computer. Tame your family’s schedule and enjoy a family game night. Plan a party and invite your friends. Just be sure to put this time on your calendar each week and enjoy each other’s company.
Following these suggestions will help you and your family ring in the New Year with bold resolutions that will stick. Remember the saying: “Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”