Beginning the New Year with your Family

January is a great time to help children review routines and focus on the brand new year ahead. It is common, after winter break and less structured environment during vacation, to notice that it is harder to get going and return to the family’s daily rhythm. Re-establishing routines works best when the process is intentional.

  • At your family meeting, talk about which routines are working and which ones are not.iStock_000007504991Small
  • Are there some that could be changed to make things easier/more fun for everyone? For example, could bedtimes be extended by 15 minutes, would mornings be easier if children were dressed before breakfast, or if the TV stayed off? Maybe the mornings would be better if the parents got up 15 minutes earlier so that they could be a little more calm or finished with their own routines.
  • January is also a great time to work with your children to make new routine charts.

Being intentional about entering a new year can also be helpful.

  • Have a conversation with your children about what their hopes and ideas are for the brand new year.
  • Write down ideas or draw pictures in a book or on a poster. Include your dreams and hopes for the year, as well.
  • Pick one or two things that you as a family want to do in the next two months. Pick one idea or project and make a specific plan. Mark a date on your calendar in two months to check progress and give a child the job of helping keep track. Some examples might include:
    • Play more: Have a family fun night once a month, plan one family activity each week.
    • Less screen time: No electronics at dinner, one night a week with no electronics (both adults and children).
    • Learn something new: Read and discuss a book as a family, watch a documentary, take field trip, interview an older neighbor or family member about his/her life

Happy New Year from all of us at Sound Discipline!

Check out our website for a list of parenting workshops and trainings for parenting educators.