All too quickly, another year will begin, and with it will come new challenges and new opportunities. It will also bring the same jam-packed schedules, daily stress and stinky socks hiding in the back of the closet. So let's get real.
From eating healthy to saving money to cutting down on screen time, the best New Year's resolutions for busy families are all about small changes that add up to big results. Read on for the scoop on how to make your resolutions stick and follow us on Facebook for even more information and inspiration.
Eat Healthier1 of 13
After a season of all things golden brown, butter-topped and chocolate-filled, many vow to pile their plates with a rainbow of healthy foods in the new year. That's our plan, too! However, while it's one thing for us grown-ups to pick (however reluctantly) a salad instead of a burger at lunch, it's quite another to get the little ones back home to hop on the healthy eating bandwagon. Never fear–we have lots of tips for making it fun.
Get More Exercise2 of 13
Goodbye to vague pledges to just "get healthy." Today's most popular resolutions get specific about physical fitness. According to NBC News, 2017 saw a boost in gym and fitness-related searches surrounding this popular resolution, compared to prior years. Is your family looking to live its fittest year yet? You're in luck.
Our workout collection includes quick and versatile routines for parents, kids and the whole family that fit into even the busiest schedules. Some take as little as 15 minutes! Mom and Dad can add even more tools and motivation with ACTIVE's Couch to 5K app.
Take a Family Vacation3 of 13
Is your family looking to blaze new trails in the new year? According to TMS Family Travel, it's a trend–young families often opt for adventures when they travel, with more than 80 percent heading for new destinations. And, according to AAA, road trips and national park visits were the most popular family vacations planned in 2017. Add it all up–an outdoor adventure in uncharted territory within driving distance–and we're thinking family camping trip!
Say "Yes" More4 of 13
Yes. This one little word can truly empower, encourage and inspire a kid. It can also finally break a seemingly endless streak of no and don't think so and not a chance. This year, instead of getting trapped in an infinite loop of letdowns, break free with the power of permission. It's fun! Here's a dozen perfect times to try it.
Save Money5 of 13
Saving money is a major goal for families everywhere. Between obligations (housing, healthcare) and temptations (online sales, dining out), sticking to a budget can be tough. Earlier this year, we highlighted ways for busy parents to earn extra cash with part-time gigs, and we have even more tips to help you save.
The good news is that small changes can really add up–especially when it comes to food. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food is the third-highest budget expense, behind housing and transportation, for consumers in every age bracket (except seniors). Furthermore, household food expenditures are on the rise. The following easy tips will help you save on family groceries, without resorting to cheap junk foods.
Try Something New6 of 13
Resolutions aren't always about tightening our belts; sometimes they're about expanding our horizons. This year, why not sign up for a class, encourage your kids to nurture a budding interest or try something new as a family? From hiking to piano lessons, cycling to cooking, ACTIVE and ACTIVEkids can help you find all kinds of activities near you. You never know–today's new hobby can turn into tomorrow's true passion.
Eat Dinner as a Family7 of 13
Remember that time when everyone gathered around the table, shirts pressed and napkins in laps, to enjoy a gourmet meal and stimulating conversation before pitching in to clean the kitchen together? Yeah, neither do we–but creating a realistic family dinner tradition is a resolution we're determined to keep.
According to The Family Dinner Project, regular meals together are linked to better grades, higher self-esteem and many more benefits for kids. And in order to make it happen, we need healthy weeknight recipes that land easily on the table between baseball practice and homework time. Are we dreaming? Nope!
Reduce Stress8 of 13
Headaches. Tension. Nausea. Irritability. Stress takes its toll on grown-ups and kids alike, and unfortunately, it's pretty much unavoidable. But that doesn't mean you have to suffer.
When it comes to the little ones, these simple stress-relieving activities can help kids relax both in the moment and long-term. For grown-ups, just five minutes in one of these relaxing yoga poses is all it takes to see benefits. And finally, the right app can help busy parents reduce stress by organizing activities, delivering groceries and even guiding you through daily meditation.
Make Sleep a Priority9 of 13
According to the Huffington Post, 40 percent of Americans don't get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night. And, as we may have already suspected, the same report states that moms and dads are more likely to get inadequate sleep. What's a bleary-eyed parent to do?
For starters, let's resolve to make our zzz's a priority in the new year. But, since our to-do lists aren't getting any shorter, 10-hour snooze-fests aren't likely. What is totally possible, though, are the following simple and effective tips for parents to optimize sleep time (even with a new baby in the house).
Cut Back on Screens10 of 13
Do you dream of your family ditching their screens in favor of quality time, physical activity and maybe even reading a book? We can relate.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, today's kids are spending an average of seven hours per day in front of screens for entertainment purposes. Taking a closer look, a study conducted by London's Royal Society for Public Health indicates that kids who spend more than just two hours per day online–specifically on social media sites–are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some 20 percent of young people say they're actually waking up during the night to check social media feeds. Yikes!
This year, why not challenge your kids to choose an exciting page-turner from our best adventure books list and replace an hour of daily screen time with reading time instead? We have a great list for parents, too (hint, hint). And as for quality time, may we suggest heading out for a family walk or football game? The benefits include stress relief, a boost in brain power and more.
Volunteer as a Family11 of 13
A 2016 report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the volunteer rate is on the decline. That makes now a great time to commit to giving back, and with most volunteers devoting just an hour a week to the cause of their choice, this resolution is all about a small change that can make a big difference in your community.
Serving up nutritious food to seniors' front doors, Meals on Wheels may be a good volunteer choice for your family. Donating time to your local public library is another wonderful option. From animal shelters to organizing a park clean-up day, the opportunities are almost endless, and choosing a volunteer project as a family makes it all the more meaningful for everyone involved.
Ditch the Guilt12 of 13
So-called "Mom Guilt" is certainly not limited to moms. All parents experience feelings of guilt, inadequacy or self-doubt, and sometimes those thoughts run amok. Mom Guilt can manifest when we realize that our kid is wearing two different color socks, or when we forget picture day or dial up delivery for dinner yet again. Guilt also comes when we take time for ourselves, ruining otherwise much-needed moments of relaxation.
As caretakers, we excel at making sure everyone around us is healthy and happy, while being relentlessly tough on ourselves. This year, let's ditch the Mom Guilt and get real about life, kids and what we can and can't fit into a 24-hour day. Here are a few words of wisdom to start us off.