What better time to strive for a happy, healthy family than the New Year? A new year can mean a fresh start for kids when resolving bad habits or reaching for challenging goals.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) presents tips for children and families to work towards together:
· I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
· I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
· I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
Kids, 5- to 12-years-old
· I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only on special occasions.
· I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
· I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
· I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
· I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
· I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
· I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.
Kids, 13-years-old and up
· I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only on special occasions.
· I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
· I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
· I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
· When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
· When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
· When I notice my friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
· I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence. I will expect the same good behavior in return.
· I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco, drugs or alcohol.
· I agree not to use a cellphone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.
Resolutions don’t have to about restricting or depriving yourself – you can look at the new year as an chance to improve your lives as a family.
Family game night is just one way to designate time to be together or creating new family traditions (Family Education). Since January follows a season of baking, try a new recipe a month instead. If your kids are interesting in being the sous chef during dinner prep, cooking can become a delightful way to explore health foods that kids can get excited about. Following healthy eating habits, try setting fitness goals as a family. Family Education suggests setting one fitness goal you’d like to accomplish in the year and working towards achieving it. Family fitness ideas can include anything from hula hoops and jump roping to yoga or walking the family pet. Resolutions can also be more than just health. Think about your overall well-being, which could be something as simple as taking a class or joining a club in the community. A new hobby can open doors for families to reveal new talents or explore new interests.
New Year’s resolutions can be a great way for families to incorporate quality time to spend with one another. Instead of renewing old resolutions, challenge your family to work together in discovering new goals.
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