As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the year that has passed and set new resolutions. What can we improve on as a family in the coming year?
We make New Year’s resolutions every year, and they’re often goals we set for ourselves as individuals. This coming year, it’s time to look at our resolutions through new lenses: the family. Approaching resolutions together as a family is beneficial, says Paul Tough, the author of How Children Succeed. According to him, when families come together to draw up their resolutions as a team, they are more likely to achieve what they set out to do. We know that we are more likely to reach our goals when we have someone to be accountable to; why not the whole family? Here’s how you can start, and make 2018 a success for the family.
For Increased Wellness
Establish A Morning Ritual
What: For families, mornings can be a mad rush to get the kids ready for school and parents ready for work. How to make them less of a frenzy? Plan, plan, plan. Create your own morning ritual first. This should be specific to you and can include things like setting aside 10 minutes to meditate upon waking or 15 minutes to read the papers. Your morning ritual should help you feel awake, refreshed, and at your best before you start the day.
Do it as a family: If the kids are old enough, sit down together as a family to discuss each of your morning rituals. Write them down and paste them where it’s easily accessible to everyone. Every morning, encourage one another to follow your morning rituals. With enough practice, it’ll become second-nature, and those stress-filled mornings will be a thing of the past. If the kids are still young, help them to plan their morning routines. It can be hard for children to visualise what comes next, so give them prompts, like making theirs a routine chart that they can easily follow. This would include things that like:
- Brush my teeth
- Wash my face
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Put on shoes
- Put lunch box in bag
- Head out
Start A Gratitude Journal
What: A gratitude journal is simply a notebook (or any kind of book to write in) where you fill in what you’re thankful for every day. It helps you to take time out of your busy schedule to be present in the moment and appreciate everything life has to offer.
Do it as a family: Every night before bedtime, get together to discuss one (or two or three) thing(s) each member of the family is grateful for that day. Take turns to write it down. Do this to help the kids understand that having a sense of gratitude is important. It can be something as small as having their favourite snack at tea time, or as big as having made it into the school of their choice. Not only does it help to refer back to the gratitude journal when a family member is having a hard day, it also promotes deeper bonding, understanding, and conversation.
For Better Health
What: Sleep is always a hot topic of contention. How many hours of sleep does your child need? When is the best time to go to sleep? Should devices be allowed in rooms where we sleep? With all these questions, it’s important to find the best sleep schedule for you and your family.
How to do it: In adults, lack of sleep can lead to stress, irritability, and even insomnia. For children, lack of sleep can cause a lack of brain development and increased hyperactivity.
Typically, each member of the family should get between 7 to 9 hours of interrupted rest every night. Experts have also suggested not using any electronic devices at least 30 minutes before heading to bed, allowing our eyes and minds to rest from the light emitted by our mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Encourage the family to read together or separately before bed – real books only! Not only will it serve as an additional source of education every day, it’ll help them achieve better sleep. With everyone well-rested and ready to face the day, there’ll be fewer quarrels, snappy remarks, and an overall better atmosphere at home.
(See also: Is My Baby Sleeping Enough?)
Prep Meals like a Boss
What: After a busy day at work, it’s easy to resort to fast food or frozen meals to satisfy hungry kids. Meal prep could be the saving grace that helps the whole family eat more healthily in the new year. Indeed, for busy mums and dads everywhere, meal prep has become the secret to ensuring the family eats well.
How to do it: Some people prep every Sunday, cooking and freezing large bags of food to be eaten throughout the week. If you prefer to cook daily, take Sunday to plan out the meals for the upcoming week. With the kids having different activities every day and missing different meals, it’s also a helpful way to keep track of how many portions you’ll be needing for each meal. This is also a great opportunity to teach the children about healthy eating. Do they want fries? How about zucchini fritters instead? By teaching them from a young age to plan their meals and choose healthy alternatives, they’ll be less likely to reach for that packet of potato chips or dial for food delivery.
For Better Career & Learning
Keep on Reading
What: Both parents and children alike can benefit from reading more in 2018. Be it fiction, non-fiction, or even biographies, there’s something for every taste.
How to do it: Parents can opt for non-fiction books on business, memoirs of people they look up to, or even parenting books for extra tips and tricks to deal with the little ones. Encourage your children to expand their reading horizons. Introduce new books to them that they normally wouldn’t pick out themselves. You never know, they more show an interest in learning about new topics and growing their perspective of the world around them!
Work Better at a Co-Working Space
What: For parents who work from home, joining a co-working space can help improve your career. With co-working spaces popping up all over Singapore in the last couple of years, you’re spoilt for choice. Although working from home is a luxury most can’t afford, it tends to get stuffy without leaving the house and having colleagues to chat with. It also often stems the flow of your creativity. Why not try a co-working space?
How to do it: Get inspired by working alongside other entrepreneurs, make connections that can help you grow your expertise or business, and collaborate with individuals that can add value to your work. Not only is it a good way to get out of a creative slump and make connections, it could also be what you’re missing to elevate your career to the next level.
(See also: 6 Mum-Friendly Co-working Spaces in Singapore)
Say Yes to Saying ‘No’
What: Both parents and children in Singapore are often overwhelmed. Ask anyone how they’re doing, the answer you most often hear is “stressed”. Why is everyone so overwhelmed? Could it be because our sense of obligation leads us to say “yes” to things we truly want to say “no” to?
How to do it: The next time you or your children encounter an offer to participate in an event or task – e.g. baking for the school fair, attending their tenth birthday party of the month, etc – don’t say “yes” right away. Thank the person for their offer, and say that you’ll get back to them by the end of the week. Take this time to think, discuss with your spouse or children, and check your schedule. If you’re still feeling like saying “no”, politely decline the invitation. While we all want to be able to show up to support and be present at every event, it’s just not possible.
Stop feeling guilty about saying “no” – see it as creating more space for the important things in your life. It also helps to change the language everyone in the family uses. Instead of saying “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy”, try “That is of high/low priority to me right now.” This helps everyone to decide what they really want to say “yes” or “no” to, and allows the little ones to learn about prioritising what’s truly important.
Create A Vision Board
What: A vision board is a targeted set of pictures and quotes that aim to inspire and keep you focused on your goals for the year. Be it Junior’s goal of getting into a great secondary school, or a picture of the amazing family vacation you have planned, the family vision board will serve as an encouragement and inspiration to everyone in the family.
How to do it: Gather the family together for a fun activity! Before the start of the new year, get everyone to find pieces of inspiration they’d like to put on the family vision board. This board will reflect your family’s goals, inspirations, and aspirations for 2018. By having everyone contribute to this vision board and hanging it in a prominent place, it’ll serve as a daily reminder of things that are important to the family.
Update Your Workspace
What: There’s nothing less productive than working at a messy desk. Be it for working parents or children who are still in school, an update to the workspace can be the simple boost everyone needs to feel more inspired and productive.
How to do it: Updating your workspace doesn’t have to be expensive – adding a small succulent, purchasing some new stationery, or even just a new planner for the year can make us feel refreshed and extra inspired! It’s also important to keep workspaces tidy. Be sure to have storage for all the kiddos’ worksheets, tuition homework, and assessment books. For parents, having separate storage for mail or work help to create a clean and productive space where your best work can be done.
By adopting all these resolutions, 2018 can be the best year yet for your family! In order to make sure these resolutions stick, count on one another as accountability partners. When one member of the family fails to meet their resolutions, be sure to offer encouragement and support to get them back on track. Likewise, when someone does succeed, be sure to offer lots of praise and reward for their success. Families succeed or fail together – so make sure to play your part and help your family succeed this 2018.
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Header Image: Estée Janssens