11 Family Resolutions That Don't Suck -- and Some That Even Stuck

Wendy Robinson | Dec 29, 2016 Being a Mom
11 Family Resolutions That Don't Suck -- and Some That Even Stuck
Image: iStock.com/Gilithuka

I have a family of four and between us, we have seven electronic devices that may be on and connected to the Internet at a given time. Put another way -- we have a screen-time problem. Which is why, as the new year approaches, I'm making a joint resolution with my kids to get some screen-time sanity in our lives. 

So, while I commit to turning off my phone between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., my kids are going to see their daily tablet time cut in half. I'm hopeful that this will lead to more reading and playing -- for everyone in the family. 

I've never done a shared family resolution before, so I was curious to hear from other moms who joined forces with their kids to set a goal. What worked and what was a total fail? Is there really strength in numbers?

Read on for some surprisingly successful resolutions and a few that didn't make it past the first week. I'm totally stealing #5 for my family.

  • Falling in Love With Books


    "One of our ongoing struggles with my daughter was her getting in her required reading minutes (can I mention how much I hate the dreaded reading log for homework? HATE). Last year we decided that at least once a week we'd go to a coffee shop and have a reading date. We'd both bring a book and get a froufrou drink. It ended up being really great and I think we both fell in love with reading -- her for the first time, and me again (I'd totally gotten out of the habit). It also gave us one-on-one time with each other that was much needed. 

    Now we have a standing Friday afternoon date and we both love it and are reading more than ever." -- Layla D., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Savings Fail


    "My kids really, really wanted to get annual passes to the local amusement park. I thought this would be a great thing to save up for as a family. We set up a jar in the kitchen and all resolved to put in our spare change every week until we had $300 for the family pass.

    It went great -- for a week. Then I realized I was the only one putting in my change. So I stopped. Now it is two years later and we still only have $9.75 in that jar. I think it was too big a goal for a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old. We should have set a more quickly achievable target." -- Lauren W., Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Family Fitness


    "After my 11-year-old failed his fitness assessment at school, I knew we needed to do something to help him get more active. I didn't want him to feel shamed or anything though, so my husband and I decided that the whole family would do a new year's thing and signed all of us up for a 5K in the spring. 

    Having a specific event to train for was really good for us and crossing the finish line as a family made me cry. It was just a really good day. Now we are all training for a sprint triathlon, which is a big goal! And my husband and I have both dropped some pounds along the way. It has been a really good change for all of us." -- Doreen W., St. Louis, Missouri

    More from CafeMom10 Realistic New Year's Resolutions for Moms

  • Read Less, Talk More


    "Okay, I realize this sounds crazy for most families, but last year my daughter and I both resolved to read LESS. 

    Crucial backstory: We recently moved to a new state and are both total introverts who would rather read than almost anything else. But after six months in Colorado, we basically still didn't know anyone. So we decided to try to NOT spend all weekend, every weekend at home with a stack of books and to get out and meet people in our community. Read less, talk more. 

    Long story short -- it didn't work. We still would just rather be home than almost anywhere else. But we did find a mother/daughter book club and joined that instead! So we do finally have some friends now." -- Kellie Ann F., Denver, Colorado

  • Add Some Adventure


    "Our family goal last year was to add some more adventure to our busy but kind of boring/routine lives. The plan was to try something new every month. And it worked so well! It is the first resolution I've ever kept. 

    Last year, we tried rock climbing, camping, laser tag, and even this indoor puzzle place where they lock you in a room and you have to solve clues to escape. We discovered my daughter is a whiz at rock climbing and my semi-surly 12-year-old son actually admitted that spending time with his family can be, ya know, FUN. 

    This year we're already planning new adventures, including learning to kayak!" -- Pamela R., Saint Paul, Minnesota 

  • Fighting ADHD Together


    "My daughter and I both have ADD/ADHD, so it was kind of a natural fit to include her when I decided to try to do more to be mindful and centered. I was working on finishing my dissertation and really noticing how my ADD stuff was working against me. 

    One of the things we did was sign up for parent/child yoga, and we committed to doing yoga together every night and for five minutes in the morning before school. I'd say we meet that goal about 80 percent of the time, so I'll call that a victory. 

    I think it has helped both of us, and it was cool to share something good together." -- Jennie R., Cleveland, Ohio

  • Screen Time Fail


    "Last year I made a resolution that our whole family would have less screen time. It was a total fail. I think part of it was that I decided for everyone what the resolution would be, so there was no real buy-in from my hubby and kiddos. I also didn't really define what 'less' would look like. There was basically a zero percent change in our lives. Lesson learned -- you can't really do resolutions for other people." -- Martha S., Tucson, Arizona

  • Quiet Hour


    "We have five kids in a 1,400 square foot house so it is always, ALWAYS, always loud. It felt like screaming was how we communicated, and it just grated on my nerves. 

    After talking about it as a family, we resolved to institute a nightly quiet hour. From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., after dinner and before bedtimes start, everyone has to do something quiet. I don't care if they are reading, playing Legos, or watching a show on the computer (with earphones), just as long as it is quiet for a change. 

    I think the change we've seen is that I'm less bitchy at bedtimes, which is good for everyone! I think the younger kids also fall asleep faster since it has been more chill right before bed. 

    Sometimes life happens and we can't make quiet hour happen but most nights we do and I feel saner for it." -- Gloria T., San Jose, California

    More from CafeMom: 11 Ways to Go Broke Setting New Year's Resolutions

  • Outdoor Time


    "Does it count as a fail or a success when we only stick to our resolution about 50 percent of the time?

    We vowed to try to go hiking or camping every month just to get more outdoor time. And then winter hit. And we live in Minnesota. So, yeah, that put a damper on that. But in the spring and summer, we are more active than we used to be and I think that family together time is good for us." -- Hillary B., Duluth, Minnesota

  • Family Movie Night


    "Our resolution was to make a new family tradition. The parameters were that it had to be affordable, fun for everyone, and something we could all do together. We tried a couple of ideas that fizzled, but then we stole an idea from a friend and instituted 'snack dinner movie night.' Every Friday night we watch a movie and have a snack buffet for dinner. Sometimes the movies are terrible, especially when the 4-year-old picks them, but it has overall been great for giving us all something to look forward to at the end of the week." -- Sue T., Saint Paul, Minnesota 

  • Two Healthy Habits


    "Last year we made a family new year's goal to try to kill two bad habits at once. For our daughter, it was trying to get her picky eating under control. From my wife and I, it was trying to get out of the habit of getting takeout for dinner most nights. 

    Our plan was to sit down on Sunday afternoons and plan a menu that would be healthy-ish for everyone (which required my daughter to consume more than crackers for every meal) and relitively easy to cook after work. 

    It ended up working well for us. We hit on a system of doing prep work on Sunday to make the cooking faster and we got my daughter to be a little more adventerous with food (she's still a fan of the chicken nugget though). We've also saved a shocking amount of money, which is a good bonus and makes us feel less guilty about going out to eat every Sunday night for dinner, which is the reward for getting the prep work done." -- Amy A., Phoenix, Arizona

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