Monday, December 26, 2011

Bring in the New

This is posted with the kind permission of Viva Magazine.  
The article appears in my column in the January, 2012 issue.

There is something revitalizing about a New Year.  It implies freshness, new energy and being up-to-date in the face of the wilted, fatigued and dated previous year.  The New Year is a great time to check out ways to re-energize your family.  Here are a few suggestions to recharge in 2012:

Schedule time together.  Even with great intentions to spend time together as a family, unless planned – actually written on a schedule – those precious moments together may not happen.  Everyone gets caught up in their own busy lives and other things take precedence.  So gather your family together and ask everyone for a list of their favorite things to do.  Then plan a year of weekly or monthly activities that include everyone’s suggestions.  It could be ice skating or roller skating, reading,  swimming, riding bikes or having a picnic.  It could be as simple as a walk around the block after dinner.  You will cherish the memories you create from these times together.         

Have an electronics-free weekend.  Schedule one weekend or one day per month free of electronic devices.  Discuss ahead of time what you plan to do instead of watching television, playing video games or listening to music on headphones.  If you hear “Mom, I’m bored!” ask your child “What are you going to do so that you are no longer bored?”  His boredom is his responsibility and the time for him to be creative.  Coordinate your electronics-free weekend with your scheduled family time activities.  Invite friends over to play board games or softball.  Cook together.  At the end of the weekend, talk about how you feel.  Are you more rested, more connected and more relaxed?

Let your children do more around the house.  With each New Year, increase the number of opportunities for your child to be helpful around the house.  Talk about what he would like to do and what you would like him to do.  Show gratitude for his contributions.  Maintaining the balance between a child’s power and his responsibility is what eliminates resentments and prevents entitlement issues.

I wish all the best for you and your family in 2012.  May you feel re-energized!

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