Mon, December 12, 2022

Resolutions for the New Year

Barbara H Scott, Executive Director, Parents League of New York

Every year the holiday season brings something a little different. Most years our holiday wreaths are placed on the front door for Thanksgiving weekend.  But, beyond that, our holiday traditions can include a wrinkle here or there. No year has been exactly the same. Whether we are walking down Fifth Avenue to play tourist, spying the holiday windows of midtown or heading out in flannel shirts and sturdy boots to visit the local tree farm, the pace of the season brings time with family and friends in a unique way. I mean, what beats thinking you can negotiate the price of your holiday decorations with children in tow on a frigid December afternoon?

This year the wreaths are up but we will bring our holiday abroad. Visiting our daughter who is away for the academic year will be this year’s holiday wrinkle among the tradition. In fact, the trip will include the first Christmas day in thirty years I have spent outside of New York City. It has made me reflective and even a little nostalgic, and I find myself pulling out old holiday cards and checking the holiday china cabinet. So with more time on my hands than usual this holiday, I am thinking about the New Year and the making of resolutions. As I reflect on the year past and look to the New Year, I am happy to share a list of my resolutions for family life in 2023:

1. Rethink how you spend time with your children

2. Listen to your kids more, talk less

3. Model the behaviors you want to see in your children

4. Unplug more

5. Eat dinner together

6. Get outside together regularly

7. Establish a family game night

8. Put a cap on your work day

9. Make sure your kids (and you) get enough sleep

10. Give your child a family job

Though I have sons who are adulting and a teenager in the household, these ideas serve as a reminder that the work of parenting is almost never done. New Year’s resolutions for the family are a good way to recommit to being the parent you wish to be. You might say, “well, don’t those twenty-somethings have real jobs?” Yes. They do. But holding responsibility, where appropriate, for family interaction is good practice for the lives my children are building as adults. A little advance practice never hurts. In fact, two years ago I learned my eldest child is really good at travel planning. This wasn’t exactly on the skills to teach parenting list, but when he suggested and planned a mother son excursion for the two of us I realized that simple lessons in childhood translate into meaningful skills later on. I can’t imagine an aspiration more realized.

So, get creative and ring in the New Year and set some intentions for your family in 2023. We will be thinking of you here at Parents League and can’t wait to hear how your year unfolds.

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