Family Resolutions for the New Year

Jan 20, 2023, 09:26 AM by Department of Pediatrics

FamilyFor thousands of years, humans have used the long dark days of winter to reflect on their well-being and make plans for the coming period of growth and building for the future. It is believed that the idea of resolutions began with the Babylonians offering the gods promises to ensure good crops and fortune.  New Years’ Resolutions are an important part of our culture, and as everyone knows, most seem to be made to be broken. 

Professionals that work with changing behavior recommend several things to make changes.  First, it must be understood why it is important to accomplish this resolution; second, it is helpful to break down the resolution into small achievable steps.  For instance, I will lose 2 pounds a month instead of 100 pounds. Third, it is helpful to have someone working with you to accomplish it.

Resolving that your family be safer, stronger, and more harmonious may not require a complete overhaul but a few important adjustments.  Family resolutions can be made together to make the family safer, stronger, and more harmonious. For family goals to work, each family member sees their role and gets a reward for cooperation. has seven suggestions for family resolutions for the New Year.  The first is to get everyone vaccinated against COVID and the flu. It is the best way to protect the family from these dangerous viruses.  COVID and flu shots can be taken at the same time.  It is important to ensure everyone (all ages) is up to date on all recommended vaccines. 

Second, parents should devote some time to learning about age-appropriate media, develop a media use plan and try to prevent gaming from becoming an unhealthy habit.  Try to use screen time together.

Third, it is important to set aside reading time every day.  For younger children, it is easy to fit into the bedside routine.  Older children can share the reading or listen to an audiobook together.  Reading has many brain-boosting benefits. 

Fourth, spending time outdoors can be a great mood booster and help families get needed physical activity.

Fifth is to keep kids riding rear-facing up to the limits of their car seats.  This will include all children under two and most up to age 4.  The Sixth is to set aside time to cook together as a family. If a child is a picky eater, this may get them more interested in trying new foods.

Seventh is to make a family disaster plan. Scary disasters like fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes can become less scary when there is a plan about what will be needed and what each family member is supposed to do.

A very important parenting goal is for parents to take care of themselves.  It is important to have medical checkups, get proper rest and eat a healthy diet. Fathers and mothers can have problems with depression and anxiety.  Help is available.

Have a healthy, happy New Year.

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