Family summer resolutions build a bridge for the future
Photo by Askar Abayev from Pexels
WASHINGTON: America’s kids and families are once again enjoying a true summer break. One without masks and without fear. Aside from NYE, summer is the best opportunity for kids and families to build a bridge for the future by setting family summer resolutions. Family summer resolutions maybe even more important than New Year’s Day for setting resolutions because it is the season for summer activities, bonding, recommitment even rediscovering.
Families are the core of our nation’s culture. They are truly the “salt” of the nation. Summer resolutions can be small positive, achievable goals families can meet during the summer to regain what may have been lost during the pandemic lockdowns.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16
Attainable resolutions renew that hope for achievement. Starting fresh with new goals this summer is a way to renew yourself, and your family. As parents and kids set and meet summer resolutions, they will feel energized to take on more family based goals together.
Experts explain that setting family resolutions can reinforce positive behaviors, beliefs, and even strengthen a family. Dr. Benjamin Siegel, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, agrees with the benefits of family resolutions, reported PBS.
Look at summer resolutions as a tune-up for the family just like your family car needs a tune-up every several thousand miles. Families need a tune-up as well. After six months, or 182.5 days, 4,380.5 hours, 15768017.3 seconds, family members need to recommit and reconnect with family resolutions and, more importantly, create some new ones this summer.
How to Make Family Summer Resolutions Real
Meg Cox, author of The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Everyday, explains how to make resolutions tangible for children.
“One of the main rules in creating new rituals is to engage as many of the five senses as possible,” she says. “For sound, play the family’s favorite music. For smell and taste, cook a fun treat to eat during or after writing resolutions, especially something that smells delicious such as hot chocolate with marshmallows or warm cider with cinnamon. For touch and vision, buy some small objects to symbolize what might happen to a person in the next year, such as a small globe for travel, a football for sports, a book for doing well at school, and so on.”
Those same techniques can be adapted in part for summer resolution tangibility. ” Families these days tend to have isolated lives,” Cox says in Parents,“When you’re talking about what matters to each other, that’s a bonding experience.” So, turn off the electronic devices — no texting—and pay attention to one another.”
Where to Begin
While the summer vacation season is fresh it certainly helps to create a setting that is friendly and fun. Being positive and engaging is a good way to start. For example, it would be great to discuss some of the terrific ways each family member helped during the past year on weekends, during holidays and even on household chores. Someone can make a shortlist for each family member’s response.
When the list is completed, ask each member to come up with specifics for turning their positive task into goals for the summer. Now it is time to write down some of the challenging items that each family member felt were not positive behavior or goals, if any.
Parents, it is important to let the kids know that parents are not going to keep score or hold their comments against them. Remember the idea is that each person can be rewarded with improving themselves. A little added incentive would be to also list how they want to improve.
Here is an example: Schedule summer family meals — It’s about family fun, not food.
The resolution goal might be to spend at least half an hour around the dinner table together. The food isn’t the most important thing (although involving kids in making the summer meal is great); time together sharing the day’s activities is the point. Each person takes a turn to tell the family what he or she did that day.
Take out your phones or get the calendar off the nail on the wall and set specific dates and times throughout the summer for a family meal. Wednesday nights or Saturday lunch, or Monday night dinner. Whatever works for your family. Consider family commitments to sports, vacations or summer social outings with friends as you set the date. Once meals are on the calendar, your family may not later ditch dinner in favor of a last-minute meet-up with friends. It’s important to respect the plans you have made, especially with your family.
Once you have the list of meal dates, invite members to help plan, shop and cook. If mom is always the point person, maybe dad takes junior to the store. Or maybe big sis helps little bro make pasta with sauce. Invite people to make a meal they enjoy (pancakes and bacon for dinner!). And he who cooks does not clean! Each person should pick a specific job to help: set table, clear table, clean dishes, put away leftovers, unload the dishwasher. Team Family!
Summer Resolution goals for family and kids:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has easily achievable behavioral resolution goals to jump start your summer resolutions. Of course, the suggestions should be age-appropriate. Here are a few for kids and parents:
- Being a better listener to dad and mom
- Picking up and putting away toys –
- Feeding and taking care of pets
- Washing hands and brushing teeth
- Doing daily and weekly summer chores
- Healthy living suggestions like eating less junk food, drinking more water and milk or exercising more regularly
- Observing family bedtime hours
- Stop oversleeping in the morning
- No texting at the dinner table
- Recognize Achievements
We all know the feeling of meeting a goal. It is exhilarating. Whether it be losing five pounds, quitting smoking, or putting in extra hours to earn a job promotion. Children also relish that thrill of individual accomplishment, especially when their parents are aware of it and acknowledge it.
As you go over the family list of resolutions each week, take time to acknowledge the successes, along with reinforcing the summer resolutions that need more attention.
“Children will benefit by having the parent praise them, which will improve their self-esteem,” Siegel says. “This will help them with self-regulatory behaviors that they can integrate into being a healthy adult.”
For instance, during family meals, acknowledge the child’s resolution accomplishment that week. Write it up in the family’s Summer Resolution notebook: “Junior made pancakes for family dinner.” Or if it’s family movie night, write down the title of the movie you watched together.
Keeping track of these achievements in a notebook will not only recognize the family’s weekly efforts, it will provide a great way to show long-term family-bonding progress. As the end of the summer approaches, the family can begin to review the resolutions. It’s all positive because you are tracking the efforts, while making adjustments needed to change, to achieve the goals.
The key here is to remember that this is not time for punishment or for marginalizing the level of resolution keeping achievement. Take a lesson from Ulysses: it is not the destination but the journey that is important. So, be flexible and understanding, especially if the child has made a degree of effort.
“You don’t penalize if you don’t fulfill a resolution,” Clarke-Pearson says. “The resolution is not written in stone. It’s a guide,” reports PBS.
Plan ahead for a cool joint summer reward for everyone. Like a night at the movies, a special dinner, a trip to a favorite lake, park, or area sports game. Even a cool evening family walk. You are planning in advance for the success of your family’s summer resolutions as the summer comes to an end.
Call it the Family Resolution Achievement Festival or some other fun name. Put it on the calendar. Make the reward tangible by planning it as you make the list of resolutions.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Remember, whatever resolutions your family arrives at resolutions, the best part of this summer experience is having fun doing them together. Ready, Set, Go!!
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