For me it’s inevitable; the end of the year brings with it a time for reflection — what was great, what wasn’t so great… what would I like to do differently next time around. Pre-Kids it was usually about exercising more, being more organized, learning a new language, drinking more water… and other things that never panned out, but weren’t of much consequence anyway.
This year though, With-Kids and with the Newtown tragedy continuing to pull at my heart, all I can can muster for a resolution is to cherish every. single. moment. with my family, to truly make the most of every day. While it’s just one resolution, it’s a biggie and it is certainly of consequence as time won’t stand still with little ones.
Here is my action plan for spending more quality time with kids, with a healthy dose of reality built in to ensure I can stick to it:
- Make an Occasion out of the Everyday: Plan something fun every week to do together as a family, with extra points if it’s a regular occurrence. Make It Happen: It doesn’t have to be extreme; “Taco Night” or “Movie Monday” is enough to get everyone excited but so simple that there will never be an excuse to skip it. I’m setting myself up for success by planning just one or two of these weekly events and make it a family challenge to see them through.
- Set a Seasonal Strategy: For many of us the seasons seem to wiz by, guided by a myriad of plans and commitments that somehow ended up on our calendars. And, before we know it, we’re onto the next. Taking a few minutes before each season to think about what you really want to do, and then to schedule it, ensures that a winter doesn’t go by without a snowball fight or a spring without a bike ride on your favorite trail. By prioritizing these simple things you may need to decline other opportunities that pop up, but you’ll be happier doing the things you really love. Make It Happen: I’ve circled the first day of each season on the calendar. On each of those nights, we’ll have a family brainstorm over dinner and write down all of the things we want to do to celebrate that season. After the brainstorm, everyone gets to pick one activity and we’ll write it on the calendar over dessert!
- Don’t Try to Do It All: Parents should resolve to give up trying to do it all and instead focus on what’s meaningful. In fact, PBS says that “Saying No” is the best resolution a parent can make! Spending time with your kids is most important, not creating some Pinterest-inspired, Waldorf-approved art project. Instead, look to services like Green Kid Crafts — for $19.50/month, we’ll deliver new craft kits on a regular basis so you can just focus on enjoying them with your kiddos. The same approach goes for dinner – takeout gets a bad rap, but I’ll take a focused, relaxed parent over some fancy home cooked meal any day — and playdates — don’t over schedule, downtime actually helps build more creative kids. Make It Happen: Spend a few minutes thinking about your outsourcing options in January and reap the rewards all year. This is my excuse to hire a housecleaner (yay!!), and to get a process in place for family dinners which may include a test drive of a meal planning app and a prep-once-eat-all-week plan from a magazine or good blog, but most certainly will include looking through the store for some new healthy/fast/easy options to add to our rotation.
What do you think? Are you resolving to do any of these things in 2013?