Last week my twenty-two-year-old grandson and Meher School alumni, Malakai, helped me achieve a long-sought New Year’s resolution for the start of 2023: regaining my confidence to drive over the Bay Bridge. I was trapped on the bridge when it broke in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and for years I’ve opted to have others drive me into the city. I wanted to regain my ability to drive into San Francisco alone.
Once I confided my wish to Malakai, it was his determination to do it right away that made it happen. One day he said, “Let’s go now,” and he coached me with positive feedback all the way as I drove across the bridge. “You’re doing great, Grandma!”
This story reflects the power of family collaboration on New Year’s resolutions. When we commit to goals with someone close to us, we are more apt to realize them, and families working together is the perfect place to begin.
Start by talking to your family about what they want to happen in the coming year. In January discussions on making life more fulfilling in the coming year can be enjoyable activities in themselves. Young children don’t experience time in minutes or months, but planning together helps them construct ideas about the past and intentions about the future. You can illustrate the concept by talking about highlights 2022. It’s often hard to remember all that happened the previous year. Who were new people your child met? What were some of your child’s accomplishments?
Helping to make plans empowers children. This is especially true when you schedule parent quality time together every week. Children need predictable time alone with parents, and putting those activities on the calendar shows we value those activities too. You can also brainstorm ideas for the whole family. Perhaps your family wants more time playing games or going on hikes. After discussing plans for the new year, pencil in plans on the calendar. Have children create artwork depicting their wishes for the new year.
Be sure to program to nurture yourself. Since you are the hub of the family, taking care of yourself is the basis for allowing everyone else to prosper.
Making News Year’s resolutions a collaborative venture sets the foundation for family members to support each other throughout the year. “How are you coming on your goal of learning to skate? Do you want to make a date to go to the rink?” In addition, collaborative planning about family activities teaches children that family time is precious, and the choices we make about the way we spend time together are important.