At the beginning of every year, I pack up the Christmas decorations, clean out the closets and pull out all the clothes that don’t fit, toys that the kids have outgrown and items that we just don’t use, I go through all the old papers in the filing cabinet and get ready for the New Year! I always seem to have ideas of what I would like to do or would like to be different for the New Year but I never really said out loud “These are MY New Year resolutions!”
Last year was a pretty good year, the one thing I wanted to do was to get out and do more things with the kids. I was able to pack in a lot of different activities and getaways that really didn’t cost a whole lot. Of course, it was probably the greatest year in my kids lives because not only did we do a lot of little things like free art programs at the library, dance and acrobat classes, pumpkin patch outing, movies at the theater, live plays, day and weekend trips to Indianapolis and Chicago but they got to experience the most magical trip of all…going to Walt Disney World with Grandma!
I have to say I was pretty impressed that I committed to an idea and I stuck with it and made it happen. Even though I was blessed to have someone like Grandma that helped make some of the trips happen and have a great network of family that is willing to help out with the kids on these trips or watch the kids so we can have adult time.
So for this year I decided to actually make New Year’s Resolutions. I’m attempting to focus this year on they way we parent. The first item on the list is the implement a chore chart and stick to it. I have tried to do chore charts in the past and never really stuck to it. But over the last year I have noticed that there are everyday things the kids must do that they don’t always do and I don’t always keep track of it. For example, I have often wondered if kids brush their teeth before bed. I’m not sure if I reminded them. I think I saw one of them in the bathroom before bed but did I see the other one go in there. And did they brush their teeth or just use the bathroom? Of course, by the time I start to question it the kids have been in bed for two hours already so I’m not about to go wake them up to ask them. And as any parent knows, if you ask them in the morning the answer is always yes even though your pretty sure it’s a lie.
I did a little research on the Internet and looked at some images of chore charts that people have used. I decided to make one of my own using a spreadsheet program. I decided to break it up into morning, afternoon and evening chores that went for a week at a time on a sheet. In the morning before school the kids would have to do things like eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on their glasses which one kid forgets to do almost every day, make bed, feed animals, etc. After school we do homework, clean out their lunch boxes, take out the dog, go to after school activities, etc. Then in the evening the basic showers, brush teeth, lay out clothes for the next day, read for 30 minutes, etc. I have boxes next to each item and they put a small sticker in the box if they did that chore on that day. They will be rewarded with money to put in their bank accounts; extra electronics time or maybe work towards something big like a toy or a day trip.
Goals For The Week
I’ve also decided to post on the fridge the goals for the week. Things that we should all strive to do. Such as doing homework at the table or desk with no distractions like television, eat all meals at the table and clean up after or try something new to eat. I hand write these goals so that I can add or change them easily whenever something comes to mind.
Limit Time On Electronics
I have heard and read a lot over the years about limiting television and electronic time for children as well as adults. There are numerous reasons according to articles on the Harvard website some of which are obesity and health issues that may be caused by long periods of sitting. Other reasons can range from detachment from the real world to not developing other social and physical skills not associated with the electronic world because they spend all their extra time in front of electronic devices. My main concern here is that I don’t want my kids to develop any health issues in the future if there is anything I can do about it and I would much rather see them reading a book or do an art project than sitting in front of the television all day.
I have created tickets that the kids will keep in a bag their made that they will need to turn into me when they want to watch television or play a video game. I have started off with giving each child two – ½ hour television tickets and a 1-hour video game ticket per day along with a ticket for one movie they can watch a week (mainly on the weekend). So that averages out to about 2 hours of time in front of a screen a day. On some nights the kids have after school activities so there may be days when they don’t get to use all their tickets so this may cut the time down even more. Of course this can be flexible, if the kids do extra stuff to help out they can earn more time or it can become an award on their chore chart.
Sometimes the kids like to play apps on my iPhone so I have now gotten rid of most of the games and downloaded educational games instead.
Paying more attention to what my kids eat in a day is my last goal for the year. I’m going to attempt to create more balanced meals that they consume in a day. I’m also going to spend more time looking for recipes that I can make that will hide more nutrition and start to read more labels when at the grocery store. My kids are very hands on so they like to help in the kitchen. I am also toying with the idea of having the kids keeping a food field journals that they can use to record the new foods I hope to get them to try each week, draw pictures of them and explain their thoughts of whether or not they liked it and why. I think the more I can get them involved the chances are they will discover new things they like that are good for them.