Resolution #1 – Tell yourself that you DON’T haveta stick to your SCHEDULE: Mi Families programs encourage schedules and routines, BUT not at the expense of your anxiety level! Schedules and routines can help you predict what’s to come and what you have to accomplish. However – It is okay if some days you just have to cancel an appointment or can’t vacuum the living room because something else came up…or you need a break! Just find a time to re-schedule your to-do’s! Following through with to-do’s is an important life skill to teach your kids, but also teach them the skill of flexibility. Help kids make their own calendars and planners (click for calendar templates & organizational tips). Decorate such tools with seasonal or holiday themes… write in birthdays, doctor visits, homework due-dates, etc… Have them help design a daily routine to accomplish homework, chores and other tasks. Daily routines that keep things such as work times, playtimes, meals and bedtimes consistent will help keep kids calmer. When the routine hits a road-block help them detour around it, teaching them to deal with unpredictable moments.
Resolution #2 – Decide you LIKE LEARNING new things: If you want kids to learn more ~ you need to show ‘em why it’s important to learn new things and how it can be fun. Mi Families offers educational programs for kids and their parents (or providers) in a way that does both. Contact us if you want ideas, or just start thinking outta the box. What is something you have always wanted to learn about? Decide to start learning about it! Ask your kids what they WANT to learn about. Yes the basics are important, but the drive to learn and explore is worth more in the long run. Use their interests to teach those basics. Interested in Lego’s = great for math! Use that calendar tool discussed above to teach math also, and the months of the year/days of the week. Put it in a song (sing days of the week to o’my darling or the Adams Family tunes). Check out our You Tube playlists, such as “TEACHable tools.” Almost anything can be turned into a teachable tool (follow us on Pinterest & subscribe to our news-letter on the right for updates on teachable tools). Remember that hands on messes and games teach more than paper and pencil. Don’t own a room full of games like we have in our resource room? Contact us about using some of our resources, or create your own tools and games. Challenge your kids to come up with their own learning games.
Resolution #3 – Allow yourself to eat your FAVORITE FOODS: We know that eating healthy is one of the biggest resolutions people make…and then break. That’s because most people make their goals too challenging. Yes resolutions are supposed to be things that are hard to change and need to be changed, but do changes in steps – don’t give up things you love immediately and be miserable! Like your schedule, it’s ok if you have to re-schedule your meal plan to save your sanity. Like learning habits, decide to enjoy the process of becoming healthy. Start simple. Write out your end goal and work towards it. Instead of cutting out all your treats today decided by the end of the year you won’t be addicted to “soda-“pop. So challenge yourself to have one less can this week, 2 less cans next week… til’ you’re only drinking a bit with that once-in-awhile-pizza. Then challenge yourself to substitute one salad or fruit smoothie for a meal this week, substitute during 2 meals next week… until you’re enjoying your breakfast smoothie and salad for lunch daily. Lastly challenge your family, even the kids, to help pick and make healthy dinners. Create menus by looking through cook books together and picking things you’d like to try. Make a grocery list, look up coupons, then go shopping – TOGETHER. Teach your kids all the steps to eating healthy…
Resolution #4 – Convince yourself you ENJOY EXERCISE: Somewhere in that scheduling resolution – make time to work out. I know, for many that is harder than the healthy eating. It takes time and effort and ugg, who wants to get up early for a 5 mile run? Well, some learn to love that quiet morning wake up, others prefer a night time de-stress marathon alone. Some need a lunch-break work out buddy. Some don’t wanta leave the couch! Where-ever you stand (or sit) on the mention of movement – decided to make time to exercise for all those important healthy/happy reasons you already know about. Maybe it can be your #2 learning goal – maybe there’s a new sport you’d like to give a try? Whatever your self-challenging-reason give it time and build up endurance like in our healthy eating program. If you don’t have a daily routine of movin’ & grovin’ start small with stretching before bed tonight, then again tomorrow, then the next day wake up and stretch – then stretch again before bed, on the forth-day stretch midday as well, then start adding on 5 mins of faster movements or work out routines after those stretches… THEN start adding a couple more mins to one of those stretch sessions til’ you get a good ½ hr work out each day – maybe an hour a day goal by the end of the year! That ½ hr or hour need not be torture – enjoy it – make it fun! Get outside and play with the kids – Since it’s winter go sledding, skating, skiing, play tag wearing snowshoes… If you can’t get outside get a wii-family workout going, have a dance-a-thon, make an obstacle course through your house! Enjoy exercise and teach your kids that it’s fun to be fit!
Resolution #5 – Be the PARENT (or provider) who PLAYS with the kids: We are so thrilled you are someone who takes the time to read these type of blogs and look up ideas to do for yourself or with your kids… The world needs more people like you! We put our Mi Families guarantee on these resolutions that if you commit to the challenge of using all the resolutions posted your family (or program) will start working together, learning respect and responsibility, feeling healthier and happier… but for the plan to work you need to stick with ALL the resolutions. This means if you screw up one day – that’s ok because #1 says you can try again tomorrow… It means you’ll learn new things and new habits. It means you’ll focus on the positives, the strengths, the love … you’ll try to not worry about the negatives, you’ll find help to overcome weaknesses, you’ll offer forgiveness to those who act without care. Most important you’ll commit to loving life. You’ll take time to “stop and smell the roses.” That doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to the thorns – you’ll take needed precautions – yet still enjoy the experience, because a rose only stays in bloom for so long. The years of childhood pass quickly as a rose in bloom – ask any parent who wishes they could go back and hold that baby for a long night while it cries… Understand that the toddler’s tantrum is their communication, that your student’s unwillingness to do their lesson is because of their attention or anxiety… TAKE TIME to understand. Understand that when a little one asks you to play with them they are asking for the gift of time and the memory that you entered their special/private world. When asked what kids favorite gifts were over the holidays many answered with simple toys, not the high-tech-gadgets. Yes they are cool and do serve a purpose in today’s world, but so do old-fashion toys in our fast paced lives. Take time to explore building with wooden blocks, create sensory play with sand and trucks, feed and dress a baby doll, spend extra time in the bath-tub with some bubbles and cups… Kids learn more through simple play than any other tool, but that’s for another article. This article simply is about using time wisely – and enjoy the time. Time moves fast – before you know it we’ll be planning 2015, making resolutions to learn more, eat better, exercise, etc… but the experiences you missed out on in 2014 cannot be re-scheduled for next year. The moments to play with your child will be less each day as they grow and their schedules grow as well. No excuses – no “I’ll try to make time tomorrow” – play today and every day. Make 2014 the year of family fun.