January 10, 2010

Top Family Resolutions

by Mandi Ehman

On January 1st, we rang in the New Year and families everywhere began working to make their 2010 resolutions a reality. We're all familiar with the same ol' resolutions made year after year - get healthy, start a budget - but here's a fun look at some the most common and not-so-common family resolutions:

Family Running

The Resolution Most Likely to Succeed...
Don't make a resolution

Some of you just say no to resolutions. Your approach? Take things day by day and reassess what is important for the family as you go. We bet you'll succeed!

The Stingiest Resolution...
Declare a no-spend month

No spending? Obviously a no-spend month takes careful thought and planning. You will need to set aside a certain amount of money for groceries and you may even want a small "emergency" fund, but the key is to eliminate all extra expenses and break bad spending habits to get yourself on track financially for 2010.

The Resolution Everyone Loves...
Spend more time with family and friends

Whether your family and friends are local or live thousands of miles a way, everyone benefits when you resolve to connect with them more in the upcoming year. Schedule Skype video chats, remember birthdays, send pictures and post cards, or connect with a Family Journal. And for those that are local, plan on more potlucks, movie nights and picnics. Spending time together doesn't have to be expensive, and it makes everyone happy!

The Resolution That's the Most Fun...
Have weekly family game nights

Children love routine, and it's the routines that they remember and carry with them for life. Create a family game night tradition. Take turns choosing the games and grow your collection as your children get older. Game nights are a great way to focus on each other without the distraction of the TV. Turn on some fun music, pop the popcorn and get ready to laugh together!

The Sweatiest Resolution...
Exercise more as a family

We've all heard the statistics about the effects video games and TV have had on today's children. Exercising together is a great way for everyone to get healthy while still spending quality time together. Ride bikes, rollerblade or play basketball together, and make it a regular part of your week. During colder months, exercise videos or interactive video games like Wii Fit or Wii Active are a great way to burn off energy and pounds.

The Smartest Resolution...
Learn something new as a family

Learning something together is a great way to show children the value your family places on learning. While they may associate learning in school with boring lessons, you can choose topics to explore that you are all passionate about.. Visit an art museum, read about famous artists and then try your hands at recreating their works. Or explore another country through books, preparing ethnic recipes and learning the native language.

The Most Expensive Resolution...
Buy a new home

With the burst of the housing bubble, homes are once again affordable for many families. Learn from the mistakes that so many people made at the height of the market and be sure to choose a home that you can truly afford, even if your circumstances change. If you're not ready to buy yet but are dreaming of having your own home one day, create an idea file with decorating ideas from magazines and catalogs.

The Most Romantic Resolution...
Have regular date nights

You don't have to get a babysitter, go out or spend money to have date nights with your spouse. Pick up dinner from a local restaurant and enjoy by candlelight after the kids are in bed. Afterward, crack open a book of icebreaker questions, challenge each other to a Wii bowling tournament, share an ice cream Sunday or cuddle up with some popcorn to watch a movie! Put the dates on your family calendar so you don't forget.

The Resolution Most Likely to Lower Your Blood Pressure...
Laugh together more

Studies have shown that laughing literally improves your blood flow and your immune system. It's also a great way to bond and create memories. Look for every chance to laugh together - be silly, develop inside jokes that only you understand, play practical jokes on each other and look for humor in stressful situations to help diffuse the tension.

The By-the-Book Resolution...
Read more

It's so easy to let the stresses of juggling family, career and social obligations crowd out the time you previously spent reading. Read together out loud, but also take time during the week to sit together in the same room and read individually. Your kids will benefit from seeing you sit down and read, and you'll be able to carve time out of your schedule for reading without feeling like your kids are suffering.

The Resolution That Gives Back...
Volunteer together more

Children have a natural desire to help other people. Volunteer as a family to nurture this desire. Serve dinner at a local soup kitchen. Collect donations for a local or international charity. Mow the lawn of an elderly neighbor or clean for a family with a new baby. Let older kids brainstorm creative fundraising opportunities and help them achieve their goal. It's okay to have individual passions, of course, but look for a way to volunteer together as well!

The Resolution That Buys You Time...
Create a daily routine or schedule

The classic time management mantra says that we're all given the same number of hours each day, and while it's true, there are plenty of ways to stretch the time you've been given. Having a routine or simple schedule is a great way to stay on track to get the have-to's done in order to have plenty of time left for the want-to's.

The Messiest Resolution...
Do more arts and crafts with your kids

The thought of cleaning up the mess from arts and crafts can be enough to keep you from starting them in the first place, but the payoff as children learn to explore different mediums and express their creativity is definitely worth it. Display artwork in your home and mail older pieces to family and friends as you create new ones.

The Crunchiest Resolution...
Eat more whole fruits and veggies

How do you encourage your family to eat more of these? The easiest way is to simply have them available. Keep bowls of blueberries, grapes, cherry tomatoes and baby carrots in your refrigerator for quick snacks. Offer veggies with dip or create mini kabobs with toothpicks to entice children to eat foods they might otherwise hesitate to try.

The Resolution That Saves a Tree...
Stop using paper towels and other disposables

There's no denying that disposable items are convenient and appealing for busy families. But our trash cans and landfills are full of these disposable items and we can each have a measurable impact on our environment by moving toward more eco-friendly alternatives. Maybe you're not ready to give cloth diapers (or cloth toilet paper!) a try yet, but what about cloth napkins? Keep a stack of old towels and rags to use instead of paper towels. Think about what items fill your trash cans and look for reusable alternatives.

Get help keeping all your family resolutions with Cozi, the free online family organizer.

Mandi Ehman is a wife and mother of 4 spunky little girls. She can be found blogging at Organizing Your Way, where she shares tips for organizing, simplifying and decluttering.


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