Happy New year! We hope you all enjoyed your holidays! As usual, our holidays were the perfect combination of wonderful and insanely busy. It’s especially hard on most of the Mommies out there who do all of the shopping, wrapping, etc. It’s always a bit harder on us than it used to be, as Noah’s birthday is the day after Christmas. It’s such a struggle to keep up our energy after Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas with Chad’s family, and then make Noah feel special on the 26th.
We thought a great episode to kick off 2014 would be one about resolutions! Our podcast resolution is to get a schedule and commit to doing 2 podcasts per month. Let’s hope we can do it! The hardest part seems to be finding the time since Trish travels a lot and our two children seem to be busier than we are!
We also made resolutions for our kids and our family. Normally I’m not a big believer in setting resolutions for New Year’s – it seems like a good way to set yourself up for failure, and why not set a resolution any time of the year? But this year, we really want to commit to making some positive changes for us and for our kids.
Our Top 10 Resolutions for Our Kids and Family
Get Organized! – The holidays seem fun and exciting until you’re tasked with trying to find places for all of the new toys. This month we are committed to trimming the fat! We are working with our kids to get rid of old toys. One thing that works well with our 8 year old is to have her choose old toys she is willing to donate to needy kids. We also have found a local Facebook page for online garage selling – you can post toys, books, clothes, etc. and sell them to people in your neighborhood. My daughter loves finding things to sell so she can save money for new books! For the toys we are keeping, we are working hard at getting organized and making the kids participate in putting things back where they belong before taking out new things. We still love this image from last year and are considering implementing this in our house:
Eat Better! This year we are really going to focus on eating fewer processed foods, focusing on more fresh veggies and fruits. We had a disturbing realization that we have a lot of boxes and cans in our recycling each week. With our busy lives it gets so easy to make Mac & Cheese or microwave some Chicken nuggets, so we are working on getting our family into a fresher routine. We’ve found some great and healthy crock-pot recipes which we’ll start posting for you on our Facebook page.
Family Exercise – Our kids get a lot of exercise at school and we have them enrolled in sports. We want to lead by example to start having family exercise time. It could be as simple as a walk after dinner or a trip to the park. We took the kids to the park several times during their school vacation, and the entire family benefited from the fresh air and time together.
Less Screen Time – here is one area where we need to lead by example. Most of our friends admit they are as guilty as we are of allowing too much screen time for their kids. From watching DVDs in the car to playing on iPads and iPods, the kids are getting far too much screen time. We’ve noticed that if we let them watch a show, the moment we turn the TV off they ask for the iPad. If we say no, then they ask if we can play Nintendo or borrow one of our phones. I realized how hypocritical it was for us to keep saying no while we are sitting at our computers. This will be challenging for me because i work from home and put in long hours, and there is often overlap in my work day and their time at home, but I’m committed to re-arranging my scheduled to make this work.
Family Bonding – We’ve noticed that when we get together and play games or do puzzles as a family, our kids enjoy it as much as we do. In fact, they seem to be less cranky and sleep better if they’ve had family game time instead of a TV show. This year we plan to implement a family game night once a week – no phones or iPads allowed. We will turn our phones off and put them away so there is no temptation to cheat.
Create a Hope Jar – we want to have everyone in our family write down their 5 hopes/goals for 2014 and put them in a jar or a box. On New Year’s Eve of next year, we will read them together and see what we accomplished. We’re hoping this will teach our kids to start setting goals and work towards them.
Create a Happiness Jar – we are going to create a “happiness jar” or “happy day” jar. During the year, as our kids have good moments we’ll have them write them down on a paper and put them in a jar. We’ll do the same! When our kids are having a hard day, we can pull a note out of the happiness jar and remind them “even though you had a hard day today, last month you put this note in the jar that said you had a great day and scored 8 points in basketball, remember how awesome that was?!”
Put Your Kids to Work! We’ve been terrible about consistency around chores for the kids. If we ask them to do things they will do them, but we really want them to start taking responsibility without being asked or reminded. We are going to do our best to make sure that the kids have certain things they must do before bed, before dessert, before TV time, etc. It could be as simple as making their bed or cleaning up toys. We’ve noticed that both kids really enjoy helping us cook, do laundry, vacuum, etc. so we are considering adding in some “helper” chores as well.
Get a Pen Pal – This year I would really like my kids to learn about corresponding with friends and family, so I am going to have both of them make a picture or a card each month to mail to someone in the family. When they start receiving letters back, we think it’s going to lead to some fun and anticipation each month and we’ll be making their Aunts, Uncles, cousins and grandparents know how appreciated they are at the same time!
Snuggle Reading Time – Our little one just turned 4 and is still very into snuggling with Mommy and Daddy at night before bedtime. Maya is 8 and asked me why no one is asking her to come snuggle before bed. We realized that while she’s getting herself ready for bed, she’s missing out on some special family time. We’ve decided to make sure everyone feels included, so at night we’ll now do Noah’s book before bedtime in our big bed with everyone, so everyone can snuggle together before bedtime. In fact Maya loves being the one to read Noah his books, so she can get some good reading time at the same time. We are firm believers in reading to our kids, so this is a resolution we know we can keep!
Let us know if you’ve made any resolutions for your kids and your family! Put your ideas up on our Facebook page or tweet us @kidsarehard
Before we wrap up, we wanted to cover an item from the news this week – this week’s flu season is especially nasty. There have been several deaths just in the state of California, and it’s not the typical victim of the young and elderly. Healthy, middle-aged people are hard hit with this strain of the flu. The CDC recommends flu shots every year. We are believers in flu shots, so we are headed out to get ours this year, however late we are! Just a reminder to have your kids wash hands often, get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy diet, and we hope you all stay healthy!
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And remember everyone, Always kiss your children goodnight – even if they’re already asleep.
Chad and Trish