From our Pennsylvania family law firm, Happy 2013 and best wishes for a prosperous new year!
When it comes to New Year's Resolutions, most of us typically make our resolutions centered on ourselves-whether it is going to the gym, going on a diet, trying to cut back on shopping sprees, or keeping track of unnecessary spending. Many times our New Year's Resolutions end up being very self-centered. And there is nothing wrong with this-because after all, everyone needs a little boost at the beginning of the year, don't they? Especially for those of you with children, one of your resolutions may be to structure some more "me" time into your already busy life.
While every busy parent needs some time to himself/herself, keep in mind that having family-centered New Year's Resolutions may lead to a happier you. Read further for our Top 5 Family-Centered New Year's Resolutions to make 2013 not only a better year for you, but for your entire family!
5 Family-Centered New Year's Resolutions:
1) Sit down to dinner: eating family dinners can have many positive effects. Lower rates of teen drinking, smoking, and drug use are found in teens who eat consistent dinners with their families. Research also shows that kids who eat dinner with their families get better grades. Not to mention if you are trying to be more financially savvy in 2013, eating at home at least 4 nights a week will save you significant amounts of money. Go ahead and Google "10 dollar dinners" and you will be shocked at how many meals you can make for your entire family for just ten bucks!
2) Do not "overschedule" or "over-book" your family: While structure in your child's life is always important, too much structure, or "over-booking" can lead to an exhausted child, and definitely an exhausted parent as well. Allow your children time to participate in the activities that they enjoy, but do not force too much scheduled activity into their life. Make sure they have time relax, to spend with family, and to play. You will quickly find that having a little bit more free time may allow you to spend more quality time with your children, where you can hang out without a start and end time.
3) UNPLUG ______. You fill in the blank! Unplug the TV, the iPad, the laptop, the handheld games, or maybe even Mom or Dad's electronic devices every now and then. Have you ever noticed that there are times when your entire family is sitting together in one room and no one is speaking to each other because everyone is on their phones or some technological device? Try to have some family time where phones are off and the tv is not on. You'll be surprised at how much fun you can have WITHOUT modern technology! Some of our ideas: cook a meal together, make arts and crafts, teach your kids a new card game or try out a new board game, or simply spend time talking.
4) Try out "family fitness days": Keep your family moving! Try out new ways to exercise this year to keep it fun and interesting. If you live in a warmer climate, try taking walks or jogs in the evenings, or play a fun game of flag football. If it is cold where you live, try ice skating, indoor rollerblading, or indoor paintball/laser tag.
5) Insert laughter where arguments used to exist: This one is tough, especially when you become very frustrated with your teenage kids. Allow yourself to step back from a family argument and try to see the other person's perspective. Take a deep breath, and try to insert some laughter into the situation to ease the tension. You may be able to avoid some fights by simply listening. You might end up laughing instead of screaming at each other!
Happy 2013 to you AND your family!