The New Year is upon us! And with it comes New Year’s resolutions, those notoriously difficult to keep self-improvement promises that we make ourselves each year. One way to combat giving up on your goals for 2018 is to surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable. What better people to do this then your very own family? Check out these five resolutions that you can make with your family this year.
1. Set up non-food rewards
It’s a pretty common practice for parents to use treats to reward a child for good behavior or grades. However, by doing so you may be undermining the healthy eating habits that you are trying to teach your kids. Using sweets, fast food or soda as a reward often leads to children overeating foods that are high in sugar, fat, and empty calories. It also encourages them to eat when they are not hungry as a way to reward themselves.
Instead of offering junk foods as a prize, try rewarding kids with a trip to their favorite park or a family outing to the movies (skip the candy and popcorn). Instead of taking them out for ice cream, take them ice skating or to a sporting event. This will keep them active and teach them healthy ways to reward themselves for a job well done!
2. Make a conscious effort to eat dinner together
Work, play dates, soccer practice, and other after school activities can start to consume all of our time. It can be difficult during the hustle and bustle of the week to coordinate schedules and get everyone to sit down to a meal together. Making that one hour out of the day a priority can make a huge difference!
Recent studies have shown that eating dinner together can lower the rate of obesity and eating disorders, and lead to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. “Over the past 15 years researchers have confirmed what parents have known for a long time: sharing a family meal is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all family members.” says Anne Fishel, PhD., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. “What else can families do that takes only about an hour a day and packs such a punch?”
3. Play hooky from school and work and spend the day together
Weekends are supposed to be a relaxing time for families across the board. However, between errands, sports games, parties and chores it may be hard to find any down time at all. A family day off could be exactly what you need! While we wouldn’t recommend making this a habit, committing to doing it once or twice a year can be a real life saver, especially during the winter months approaching where vacation days are limited.
Take a day to go out and spend time doing your favorite family activities, or stay at home for a movie and board game day. Either way, a great time is sure to be had by all.
4. Eat more vegetables
This one seems pretty obvious, right? Every year this comes up as a common New Year’s resolution but it’s definitely easier said than done, especially with kids! Try incorporating veggies into the main dish of your meal instead of using them exclusively as a side. For example, broccoli and macaroni is a kid favorite and a great way to get something green into them. Another trick you can use is making eating veggies a game. Assign points every time your child eats their veggies, then at the end of the month reward them with extra screen time or one of the non-food rewards listed above!
5. Exercise together!
Taking family trips to the gym can encourage kids to stay active and exercise in a healthy way. This doesn’t mean you all have to participate in the same activity. Sign your kid up for Youth classes like swimming, dance, or martial arts to get them into the habit of exercising regularly. While the kids are in class, you are free to explore the different classes, equipment, and activities your gym has to offer. Or sign up for a Mommy and me class for some quality time together. Exercising more is notoriously a difficult resolution to keep, so make it a priority!
Looking for fun family classes? Check out our youth programs brochure and sign your child up for a free trial class.