Years ago when I was single and had lots of extra time on my hands, I resolved to read a different classic work of fiction every month. Not the most exciting of resolutions, but I actually kept it. Of course, it helped that I didn’t have to care for a home, a husband, and children, but it was also doable because I kept it simple, it fit into my area of interest, and I believed it would make me a more well-rounded person.
Okay, before we give you our list we want to assure you that you don’t have to commit to every resolution — it’s okay to pick just one.
1. Resolve to be flexible about family meals.
Family meals are so worth the effort. If your family doesn’t have a predictable schedule, try to pick at least a couple of days a week when you can eat together. Be flexible: make breakfast your family meal. Have a weekend tradition of eating your family meal in the living room with a sit-on-the-floor picnic. If you didn’t have time to cook, get take out. One family I know has hors d’oeuvres every Saturday night — pigs in a blanket, mini quiches, things that are easy to make or easy to find ready-made at the grocery store. The kids love the finger food and the prep work is easy too.
It also helps to plan if you can. On Sunday, I pull out the calendar and pencil in the days it looks like we can have dinner together. I then do everything I can to make it happen. It’s easier when I have something in mind that I’ll fix for dinner. I tell my kids what time we’re eating so they can snack accordingly. I shoot my husband a reminder text with the time. Once you do sit down together, keep the conversation light.
2. Resolve to hug your kids for 10 seconds daily.
This one is super easy when our children are small, but as they grow older and taller, it takes intention. Trust me, my 13-year-old would probably rather snapchat than wander over to hang out with me in the kitchen, but as he makes his way across my path I pull him over and say, “Ten-second hug,” and we both count out loud.
A ten-second hug has been proven to be the magic number in reducing stress, easing depression, and boosting the immune system. But beyond that, hugging your child intentionally for 10 seconds just makes your heart feel wonderful. (Try one of these seven fun hug a day ideas.)
3. Resolve to disconnect daily.
Even if it’s only 15 minutes, have a daily window where you and your children share time away from any screen. For the best results, have your devices out of sight and not in your pocket or on your lap. Studies show that even seeing a device makes us less empathetic. Use that non-screen time with your kids to chill, read, or play a quick game.
4. Resolve to use kind words.
I wrote about my efforts to use my words to build up my children in Wise Words Mom. The best way to get into the kind words mindset is to pray every morning that the words you use will be loving and that when you do have to be firm with your children, you will be kind instead of harsh. This awareness will actually help you be more patient with your kids throughout the day. Other ways to inject kindness into the words you share with your kids? Resolve to say three kind things to them each day.
5. Resolve to share what’s important to you.
My kids have started calling my little talks, “Life lessons with Nancy.” But even when they roll their eyes and give me a two-syllable, “Mom,” I power on. Sometimes I’ll say, “Hey, come here guys,” and quickly launch into an article I found, a verse that inspired me, or something that happened in my day that strengthened my own faith. So, since sharing my faith and how it informs my choices is what I most want to share with my children, I’m resolving to do that once a week. So zero in on what you really care about, and pass it onto your children.
Whichever New Year resolution you choose, remember, keep it simple. Start with one and move on from there. Even one resolution kept is better than a dozen made but broken.
Which of these resolutions do you want to try?