Are you a goal-setter? Individually, I’m not much of one. I set short-term goals, such as I’ll clean my desk today or I’ll have my taxes completed by next week, but annually, I rarely set goals. As a parent, however, I learned that setting family-focused New Year’s Resolutions is healthy and helps parents and children to work together to achieve.
January is the prime time for setting New Year’s Resolutions and goals for families. Usually, children are prompted to set goals in school independently. So working on goals as a family will help your children make another home-school connection. At home, to increase family awareness and relationships, encourage your family to work together to set family goals for the new year.
Rather than setting goals and dictating, it will be far easier for your family to work to comply and reach the new goals if everyone works together to create the resolutions as a team. Gather round over a special sit-down dessert time or crafting time when a discussion is easy to brainstorm some ideas. Have a whiteboard or scrap paper nearby and start brainstorming. Here are 5 ideas to get your family started.
5 Goals to Set for Your Family
Does your family take a vacation each year? If so, consider what you all hope to get out of vacation. Perhaps your family will set a goal to try camping or hiking. Or, maybe they’ll want to go to a beach. The goal isn’t where to go; it’s what to focus on while you’re there.
Some suggestions: This year, on vacation, we’ll try…
- to each read a new book in our car trip, rather than watching movies and playing video games
- to visit a new place each day
- to see our cousins
At our house, we’ve found that after school, the kids need some time to run around and play but then need to settle down for homework. We’ve noticed that when everyone has calm, quiet time at the same time, everyone is more able to focus. Even when we don’t have homework, a designated daily quiet time will allow the whole family to focus and relax.
Some suggestions: This year our family will…
- work to have an hour of quiet time each afternoon before dinner
- create quiet time baskets (or folders) so that we have ideas of what to do during quiet time
Address the Stressful Times
Our morning rush has gotten a million times easier since we made new goals last year. While there are times it continues to be stressful (it’s a work in progress), we’re still working to make a change to get everyone out the door and to school happily. Last year, we put an end to electronic time (including TV) for everyone (including parents), and our mornings changed immensely. This year, we’re tweaking the goal by identifying our biggest morning stress and making goals to directly work it out.
Discuss with your family which time of day may be the most stressful and suggest ways to change it.
Some suggestions: We will work to make our (TIME) calmer by
- having one day a week of no after-school activities
- creating a no-rush rule
- turning off electronics between ____ and ____
- making waking up 15 minutes earlier each day
- creating (dinner) time jobs/responsibilities for everyone in our family
The families that play together enjoy each other. Try to designate weekly or monthly goals for family time so that your family can enjoy and get to know each other differently.
Some suggestions: Each (week/month) we will…
- Host family hour at the “host’s” decision. We will rotate hosts each time who will determine the activity and host a family book club to discuss the book we all read during the month.
- Celebrate family game night or family movie night every other week.
- Take a weekly/monthly day trip. Some suggestions are hiking, visiting a museum, going to a park, take a family cooking class.
I have yet to hear of a family that always gets along, so helping your family to work through difficult times will help your family’s relationship. At our kids’ school, the children rotate the job of “conflict manager,” a student who advises kids on working out the other children’s problems. Teach your children to be conflict managers for family problems with techniques like those found here.
Some suggestions: This year, when members of our family aren’t getting along, we will…
- visit our resolution center and work out our problems
- remember to think about each other’s feelings
- work on taking a deep breath and counting to 10 before reacting
- finding a private spot for times when I need to think on my own
Once you have your goals, type or write them, print them, laminate them, frame them, decorate them and post your family goals so that your family will be reminded of your goals and can work to achieve them with pride.
Don’t just make your goals and end the conversation. Remember to revisit the goals you made a few weeks into the year and again a few months later. Every 2 months will generally work, but if you find your family goals aren’t reachable, remember it’s okay to address that and tweak them. (This is something I have to remind myself of again and again… I think I find long-term goal setting intimidating because I forget you can readdress them.) Use this Self Evaluation form to lead your family in your goal evaluations.