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New Year’s Resolutions as a Family Affair

“You may delay, but time will not.”
—Benjamin Franklin

When the glitter of the holidays subsides, children often feel a letdown. However, we can use that more relaxed after-holiday time in meaningful ways by creating resolutions for the new year as a family. Talking about hopes for the upcoming months helps children develop the idea that time is valuable, and we can all make choices about the way we spend it.

We often make individual resolutions for ourselves only to find them trampled on the busy thoroughfare of our lives. It’s easy to break promises to ourselves, but when we collaborate with others, we are more likely to make our plans a reality, especially when we record our common goals and check in to see if we are achieving them.

Helping to make plans empowers children. This is especially true when you schedule one-on-one parent-child time each week, a nurturing time they can count on.

Are we spending time the way we want?

Start with a family meeting talking about what people want to happen in the new year. What do we as a family want to do more of? Is there anything we want to avoid? Discussions focused on making life more rewarding can be fulfilling activities in themselves.

Offer bargains: “If you finish your homework early, every Wednesday we’ll play a game.” If your child wants more time with Aunt Sophie, set up a recurring date.

Expressing wishes through art

Since young children don’t experience time in minutes or months, it’s hard for them to articulate what they want to do in the future. Have them draw pictures of things they would like to do, then talk about their pictures and decide if any of their ideas are doable. They may not be able to take a rocket ship to the moon, but you could visit the Chabot Space & Science Center.

Some families create a wishing tree, bringing branches inside and hanging everyone’s wishes for the new year, making dreams more visible.

Be sure to plan time to check in with yourself. Since you are the hub of the family, taking care of yourself is the foundation for everyone else to prosper. Picture yourself at the end of 2024 and the satisfying experiences you want to have as memories.


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