2016 goalsIs your family feeling the need for an attitude makeover? Are there bad habits you need to drop and good ones you need to adopt? Try a few of our 12 resolutions for a happier, healthier new year.  It may be February, but there is still time to start the year off right!

1. Feel gratitude.  You’re coming down with a cold, the living room is a mess, and the kids are fighting. Try to see the bigger picture! Express gratitude for things like overall health, happiness, and security.

2. Listen.  Is your child talking excitedly about their day, while you’re busy making dinner or sorting through bills? Take a moment to stop what you’re doing and listen to what he has to say. He’ll appreciate it, and may take more time to listen to others as well.

3. Model kindness.  Do you find yourself shouting more than you’d like? A great way to model kindness for your kids is to take a breath and talk out the situation. Encourage them to do the same with siblings, and with friends at daycare.

4. Unplug.  Turn off Elmo. Separate yourself from your phone. Make sure the iPad is nowhere in sight. Even if you just take an hour each day to unplug with your kids, you’ll find that you’ll fill your time with quality activities and conversation.

5. Take a second look at your eating habits.  Are your cabinets filled with processed foods? Fill them with whole foods and unprocessed ingredients instead. Buy organic, buy seasonal produce, and encourage your kids to shop and cook with you.

6. Exercise together.  The cold weather doesn’t mean that you can’t get outside and get moving. Go sledding (dragging that sled back up the hill is great exercise), learn to ice-skate, or even go snow-shoeing!

7. Go eco-friendly.  Check your light bulbs to make sure you’ve switched them all to more energy efficient versions. Remember that a lot of household items can be recycled that you may not think of. Rinse your empty yogurt container, and recycle! Same goes for empty condiment bottles. Take your batteries to your local battery recycling drop off. Can you minimize driving in favor of walking? Give it a shot!

8. Read, read, read.  Set an example for your kids by picking up a book yourself. Encourage a cozy, family reading time by turning on quiet music, getting bundled up with blankets, and sharing a snack together.

9. Under schedule your time.  Less frenetic schedules on the weeknights and weekends means more time for free play, exploration, creativity, and conversation!

10. Less structure can be a good thing.  Like under scheduling, less structure can lead to more creativity during free play, and will allow your kids to be kids: inventive, explorative, creative.

11. Family dinner.  OK, we know that with work obligations and extra-curricular activities getting the entire family to sit down for family dinner isn’t always possible. Make the effort as often as you can to get everyone around that table for a shared meal and conversation.

12. Make every child feel special.  Take the time to notice the unique, positive qualities in each of your children. Let them know what you see in them and why you think each one is so special.