Ask many parents what the barriers to taking care of their own health needs they’ll state a lack of time. Our schedules are so full with work, parenting, shuttling our children from play date to activities, that we often neglect our own health and don’t make time to take care of it. Making New Year resolutions as a family offers an opportunity to teach your children realistic goal setting and incorporate healthy resolutions for the whole family. Are you making New Year Resolutions with your children? How about for yourself? We have some suggestions for keeping New Year Resolutions.
I hadn’t thought of it personally until my daughter brought up the idea of resolutions after a walk around the neighborhood one evening last week. “I’d like to go for a family walk every week…twice a week. Maybe Wednesday and Thursday. Can that be our New Year’s Resolution? It would be exercise. It would be healthy.” The idea of New Year’s resolutions must have come up at school as resolutions hadn’t yet been mentioned at home, but here was a near six-year-old offering an opportunity for the whole family to get a little exercise. Admittedly, not a huge amount of exercise, but if she’s on her little scooter she moves quite fast, and I have to move fast to keep up with her for at least 20 minutes. It’s better than no exercise and it’s an opportunity to talk about the day and to bond. We’re making just two New Year’s health resolutions as a family,
1. We will increase our exercise as a family, taking a short evening walk twice a week, we will participate in community events like TRAK’s First 5k/1mile fun run/walk on January 12th, and take a hike at least once a month as a family.
2. Fruit will be our dessert, and we’ll keep dessert treats to Friday and Saturday evening.
What resolutions is your family creating for 2013? Here are some idea starters from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
Kids, 5- to 12-years-old
I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only on special occasions.
I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.
Kids, 13-years-old and up
I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only on special occasions.
I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
When I notice my friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence. I will expect the same good behavior in return.
I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco, drugs or alcohol.
I agree not to use a cellphone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.