A new year is a great time to reflect and think about your year as a whole and to set goals and intentions. Setting intentional goals that focus on changes you want to make for your family is a great way to increase connection and reduce family stress. Connecting more as a family can reduce family stress and help improve communication and overall relationships.
Think about the things you want to do more of as a family, as well as things you want to work towards eliminating or changing. Set intentions and goals around those and start to create habits and practices that support those.
When setting new year intentions for your family, be sure to involve family members in choosing and creating the intentions. That buy-in will help get family members on board and feel invested in the family’s goals rather than feeling like these are things they are being told they have to do.
Below are a few ideas of goals you can set as a family to get you inspired. Choose a few from this list to implement into your year, or create some of your own.
- Create a weekday routine: Routines are important for the mental health of the entire family. Having a routine provides daily predictability and can help your family know what to expect and look forward to. Visual schedules can be a great tool for the entire family — make time for exercise, outdoor time, school, work, family connection, and quiet. Designate work/school time, screen time and non-screen time activities. Wake up and go to bed at the same time, eat meals at a normal schedule. It isn’t easy, but committing to a routine can create more calm and peace in your household.
- Write a family fun bucket list: What are the things your family has always talked about doing but just never gets around to? Create a list of activities, projects, trips, etc. that your family members want to do. When you find yourself asking, “What should we do today?”, pull out the list and choose something from the bucket list. These can be anything from simple craft projects to big dream trips. Anything goes—it’s a bucket list, after all.
- Talk about gratitude as a family: Creating time and space to express daily gratitude is an important habit and skill that we can learn at any age. Each day, encourage each member of your family to share something they are grateful for. You can write it down, or talk about it during a meal or while driving in the car. Being grateful for the little things can change our perspective and mood.
- Do chores together: Want to get everyone involved in cleaning the house? Make it a competition. Set a timer for 30 minutes, give everyone a list of chores/tasks and see how much you can accomplish in that time. Working as a team toward achieving a goal is a great bonding experience and can make chores more fun.
- Cook together more often: It may take twice as long to make a recipe, but getting your kids involved in the kitchen helps you with meal prep, gives your kids something hands-on to do and encourages kids to eat a wider variety of healthy foods. Kids who help prepare and cook foods are more likely to actually eat them! In addition to those benefits, the quality time making a recipe with kids and the laughter and memories that ensue are worth the extra time and mess. Bringing kids into the kitchen with you also helps them understand the time and effort it takes to get a meal on the table.
- Learn each other’s love languages: We’ve talked about this in romantic relationships, but what about for the whole family? Understanding your child’s love language can be helpful in communicating and connecting with your kids. If you feel like you and your child are always speaking a different language, it may be because you are. You can take the children’s version of the love language test here.
- Try a new activity each month: Get out of your comfort zones together. Never been kayaking? Give it a try together. What about trying a new food? Seek adventure and learn and grow together as a family. The memories of the experience will last longer than the activity.
- Spend one-on-one time with your kids: Even though we spend most of our days together, it is still important to find ways to set aside one-on-one time with our children individually. When you do, you will have a renewed connection and a deeper understanding of each other. One-on-one time helps to strengthen your connection with your children and helps them feel understood and valued as an individual.
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