7 family New Year’s resolutions parents and children can make together in 2023

Here are some goals you can set yourself as a family in 2023
7 family New Year’s resolutions parents and children can make together in 2023

Why not set yourself some family goals for 2023.

NO family is perfect – and that’s ok! But practically all of them could do some things better, which is where family New Year’s resolutions come in.

Different parents and children will, of course, have different needs. However, it might be helpful to know what parenting experts suggest…

1. Praise kindness

Jo Thurston, Parent Talk advisor for Action For Children, says: “Times are tough for a lot of families at the moment, which is why we could all do with a little kindness and appreciation. A great New Year’s resolution is to commit to praising acts of kindness from your children – anything from them being kind to family members, friends and even pets.

“Encouraging behaviour you want to see more of from your children can help boost their confidence and encourage more thoughtful behaviour in the future.

“For more advice, or to print out a kindness chart, visit our Parent Talk site (parents.actionforchildren.org.uk) for free advice.”

2. Set goals for children

“New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for grown-ups – they can be a great way for your child to learn how to set goals and work toward them over time,” says Jennifer Howze, editorial director at Netmums (netmums.com).

“For toddlers or pre-schoolers, say ‘goals’ or things they want to learn or do next year. You can even help them with a list of ideas, such as learning how to count to 10; to share their toys; to give up their dummy; to tidy their toys each night.

“As children get older, they can think more about self-development, becoming more independent, eating more healthily or learning a complex skill,” Howze adds.

“You can also make New Year’s resolutions as a family, talking about how everyone can contribute, whether that means setting the table for dinner or helping take out the recycling. Support the goals by tracking progress together with a star chart or regularly praising your child’s efforts.

“Ultimately, resolutions are a great way to teach that important quality that will last a lifetime: resilience. If your child misses a milestone or doesn’t achieve their goal on one day, review their successes so far, encourage them to try again tomorrow, and remind them how proud you are that they’re working toward their target.”

3. Make sleep a priority

Vicki Beevers, CEO and founder of The Sleep Charity (thesleepcharity.org.uk), says: “Make sleep a priority in 2023. Plan a relaxing hour before bed – fine motor skill activities such as craft activities, jigsaws or mindful colouring are perfect to help you and your child wind down. You could make a bedtime box, packed full of suitable activities.

“Turn off screens during this golden hour – including phones, games consoles and the television. The light from screens can interfere with production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to nod off. Dim the lights, this helps to produce melatonin.

“Carry out the same relaxing routine at the same time each day to support your child’s body clock.”

4. Know your employment rights

“At the top of every parent’s resolution list should be getting to know their employment rights, so they can request flexible working if they need it,” says Jane van Zyl, CEO of Working Families (workingfamilies.org.uk).

“When money’s so tight for families, being able to work flexibly to reduce transport or childcare costs may just make the difference between making ends meet and not.

“Even when you’re working, you could still be eligible to claim benefits, so make sure you’re getting advice about everything you’re entitled to. It might help boost your income, which will make 2023 that bit easier to manage.”

5. Make sure kids can’t get hold of button batteries

Katrina Phillips, chief executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust (capt.org.uk), says: “Do a hunt for button batteries in your home – if your child swallows one, the damage can be life-altering or even fatal. They’re in things all over the house – from small remote controls for night lights, to kitchen scales and bath thermometers.

“While toys should be safe, cheap toys bought online from well-known marketplaces may have easy-access batteries too. The most dangerous batteries are about the size of a 5p piece.

“Check that battery compartments in toys have a secure screw; keep household products with easy-to-access batteries out of reach of children; watch out for loose spare batteries in open packets or sent with new products; keep flat batteries out of reach and get rid of them as soon as you can.”

6. Don’t label food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’

“Diet culture is everywhere, and it’s very common for food to be described as ‘bad’. This is especially true during the festive season, when there’s a big focus on food and eating more than usual,” says Edward Emond, deputy director of services at the eating disorder charity Beat (beateatingdisorders.org.uk). “However, labelling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can encourage unhealthy rules and fixations around food and diet.

“In 2023, we’d encourage parents and families to approach food and exercise in a balanced way, especially when speaking to children.

“For example, eating a varied and balanced diet, avoiding the need to cancel out food eaten with dieting or exercise, and checking in with your loved one to see how they’re feeling can help encourage a positive relationship with food. If you’re worried about yourself or someone you know, Beat’s helpline is open every day – we’re here to support you.”

7. Help kids learn about food and cooking

“If you’re going to make one New Year’s resolution for your family, make it educating your kids on what they’re eating – and making it fun,” says children’s cookery writer Annabel Karmel (annabelkarmel.com), author of Where Does My Food Come From?

“There are heaps of benefits to teaching little ones about the food on their plate and where it comes from. While it might be entertaining to hear some of their funny answers to basic food questions – who wouldn’t laugh at a little one answering ‘mummy’s handbag’ when asked where does chocolate come from? – it’s also concerning how little some children know about food.

“Parents often think letting little ones in the kitchen is too risky, but it’s far more dangerous in the long-run to keep them out. Kids are perfectly capable of cooking from as young as five – not only is it educational and fun, but it will help lay the foundations for healthy eating later in life.”

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