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Monfredo: Time For Making Those New Year Resolutions As A Family

Sunday, January 01, 2017

 

“Each New Year we have before us a brand new book containing 365 blank pages. Let us fill them with all the forgotten things from last year—the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show, and the charity we forgot to offer.” ― Peggy Toney Horton

Happy New Year!  It is a time for all of us to reflect on our past year’s behavior and look to make positive changes at home. Setting small, attainable goals as a family to work on throughout the year is something that you may want to consider.

It’s time to reflect and look at ways of helping our children succeed in school and assist them in making better decisions every day.  To me it seemed like it was yesterday when on New Year’s Day as part of the family tradition my wife and I would sit at the table with our children and write out resolutions for the New Year. It was a fun activity but with meaning.  It was a time to share our thoughts and dreams and try to figure out what we hoped to accomplish during the next year.  

As we all know unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing these behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Let’s start off with some high-quality health ideas:

  • Get in good shape:  It’s no secret that we are an overweight society and obesity is a problem.  Encourage your child to exercise for about 30 to 45 minutes each day. These activities can be as simple as taking walks to putting on some music and having your children dance.
  • Make Healthy Choices:  As parents you control the environment at home so start by insisting that the family eat together at least four times a week or more.  Eating together leads to good conversation and makes family togetherness a part of the daily routine.
  • Eat Healthy: Eating healthy should be discussed and encouraged starting in 2017.  Start by making sure that the family eats a good breakfast.  It is the most important meal of the day.  By skipping breakfast, you’re setting your child up to be tired and hungry throughout the day.  If they are eating breakfast at school be sure that they get there in plenty of time.
  • Can the soda!  A 12 ounce can of regular soda has at least TEN TEASPOONS OF SUGAR in it.  Diet soda still contains artificial ingredients as well as caffeine.  The bottom line, it’s not good for you! Encourage drinking water each day, four glasses would be great and of course milk. 
  • Fast foods are fat foods: If you are eating out, make healthier choices such as veggie pizza, small plain hamburger, a grilled chicken sandwich or a salad. Deli sandwiches are healthier alternative when you need to get a meal in a hurry. Keep in mind that even entrees at sit down restaurants can be loaded with fat as well.
  • Snack time – when preparing snacks for school or at home try fruit or dried fruit, low fat yogurt or unsalted roasted nuts.
  • Good Hygiene: Take care of your teeth and have good hygiene– Encourage your child to brush his or her teeth twice a day and wash the hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
  • Television – limit the television and video games to only one to two hours each day.  Yes, it can be done by you sitting down with the children and working it out.  Remember, you’re the parent and we’re talking about a new year with healthy ideas. Use TV and video games productively as a way of getting your child interested in reading. For example if your child is interested in video games that involve fantasy or science fiction elements, find books that correspond to that interest. 

 

Let’s now look at the area of Mental Health for the coming New Year…

  • The internet – teach your child to never gives out personal information such as name, address, and school name or telephone number on the internet or to strangers.
  • Cyber bullying – If your child receives harassing or inappropriate text or E-mail messages remind them to never respond to the sender and report the message as soon as possible to a trusted adult.  If that person doesn’t help, tell others until someone does. Also, save or print the message to keep a record.  Also, only keep contact information of close friends and family in their address book.
  • Parents need to talk to your child about cyber bullying and set rules about the kind of behavior that is not acceptable on a cell phone or anywhere else.  Remind your child of the rules often.
  • When your child feels angry or stressed, try and give him/her strategies to cope with the situation. Talk to your child about exercising, reading, keeping a journal or discussing the problem with a parent or a friend to reduce the stress.
  • Sports are great in helping with mental health – Find a sport or an activity such as skipping rope, dancing or a special sport that they would like to do at least three times a week.
  • Encourage your child to take up a musical instrument, Studies have shown that children who play a musical instrument develop better focus and concentration skills than students who do not. 
  • Need for Consistency - Children need to feel loved and need to know that there are rules to follow.  Be sure that you have established routines for children to get enough sleep (depending on the age – between 8-9 hours), eat regular nourishing meals (fruits and vegetables daily) and receive sufficient exercise.  

 

The third and last category that I’d encourage you to consider in your New Year’s Resolutions is …Making School a priority for 2017

  • Read to your children every day (seven days a week). ( If you are a regular reader to my columns, you know this idea is must)  Most of the learning your child does in school centers on reading.  Children need to read for enjoyment, read to expand their vocabularies and to broaden their experiences.  There is no higher goal than to pass on literacy and the love of reading to the next generation. Parents are a child’s first and influential teachers and therefore you need to model good reading in the home.  Be sure that your child has the opportunity to read each night before turning in for the evening.
  • Encourage your child to read often.  As your children progress through school, research states that as much as 75% of what they learn will come from the printed page.  The more children read, the better their reading skills become.  Make sure there is a wide variety of interesting materials in your home to encourage the reading habit.  
  • Show your children the importance of being organized.  Children who are organized find in much easier to succeed in school.  Adults need to be the models and show their children how to use such organizational tools as assignment pads, calendars, notebooks, binders and backpacks.  One specific idea is before bedtimes have your child place all completed homework and books into the backpack and then place the backpack on the kitchen table or next to their coat.  This ensures that when leaving in the morning there will be no looking for books or homework assignments.
  • Talk to your children about school.  When asking about what they did in school today, don’t be satisfied with the answer, “Same old thing.”  Your children spend six hours a day in school and a great deal of learning goes on during that time.  Show that you are genuinely interested in their day by asking questions about what they did and review their papers that are sent home.  One idea at meal time is to have the conversation center on what’s happening in school.   Be sure to encourage your child to discuss homework, class work, report cards, and academic goals with you.

 

I know you get the idea, so this weekend start the conversation about the New Year and focus on some of these common sense approaches that were mentioned.   I would sincerely love to hear from our readers about these ideas and other ideas that you have found to be successful.  Share your thoughts and ideas with other readers.  My email is [email protected].   Let’s make 2017 a positive and productive year for all families in the Worcester Area.  Happy New Year and remember to SMILE often in 2017.

 

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