It's the new year, and everyone is making personal resolutions. How about making some to improve the lives of your whole family? Katie Hurley, child psychotherapist and parenting expert, shares her ideas with Away We Grow host Diane Mizota.
Hurley notes that instead of referring to family resolutions, she prefers to talk about "making family goals." She says people tend to make enormous personal resolutions, like losing 30 pounds or getting a big promotion--resolutions that can be hard to keep. She adds, "When you make smaller goals that are attainable, your self-esteem goes up because you reach those goals."
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When families set goals together, Hurley says that it's always important to keep things simple, fun, and positive. "Instead of mom and dad deciding on what the most important things are that the family needs to work on, give everybody a chance to have some input into these goals," she says.
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Hurley recommends family goals that focus on "what really matters," such as being kinder or giving more compliments. Siblings can make a goal to help one another with homework, or kids can resolve to help their parents with cleaning up the house. Hurley also recommends setting healthy goals, such as cooking or exercising together.
Another common goal for the New Year is to save money. To make that into a family goal, Hurley says you should first educate children on the basics, such as what a budget is, what it means to have money coming in and going out, and what things cost the family money. "The more you do it as a family, the more kids internalize it, so as they grow older, they have these skills," she says.
Families can stay on track with their goals using visual reminders. Hurley fills jars with cut-up index cards on which her family writes small, simple goals that they all decide on, such as "build a sandcastle, go swimming, or remember to kiss mommy today--those little things."
Hurley adds, "I think it's really important for families to sit down once a week, at least, and just talk about family goals and working on them together and keeping each other motivated. That's what it's all about."
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