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A new approach to resolutions

Sarah Kingsley Sarah Kingsley | 00:08 UK time, Thursday, 30 December 2010

The start of a new year usually fills me with dread, but this time I have decided to ditch the traditional New Year’s resolutions of abstinence and denial. Instead, I’ve persuaded my family to get involved in suggesting some fun resolutions for 2011.

So, here are the rules. We each write one personal and one family resolution on separate slips of paper. Both must be positive, realistic and with no mention of giving up anything. Fortunately for children, the idea of abstinence is about as alien as Christmas without presents, so we’re onto a winner already.  

The first family resolution is from my partner: ‘Take turns to cook a family meal once a week.’ This sounds promising, especially as our children are more adventurous with food when we eat together (and it means I cook less often too).

Resolution 2 is from my seven year-old daughter, who insists we all resolve to improve our dancing. I realise it’s almost compulsory for parents to be embarrassing dancers, but to manage this before the children are teenagers, is quite an achievement. I can see the dance game we bought for the Wii this Christmas, will be getting a lot of use.

family in winter park @ Wildman - fotolia

I’m expecting my 12 year-old son’s resolution to be along the lines of going to bed at 11pm every night, but in fact he suggests we make Sundays a family day and visit different places in our area, something I’ve been meaning to do for years. This ties in well with my resolution to do more family walks in training for a charity walk I’m attempting in May. Not surprisingly, this isn’t quite as popular with the children. Perhaps the secret is not to call it a walk.

So what about our personal resolutions? My partner resolves to expand his reading beyond biographies and car magazines. Optimistic perhaps, but I try to look positive. My son wants to improve his football skills and even offers to coach his sister (which doesn’t go down too well). She is much keener to develop her cooking skills, thanks to the Junior Masterchef series, but in particular the art of making puddings. Now that’s the type of resolution I like.

Finally, the children demand to hear my personal resolution. Oh dear, I think, they are going to be disappointed with my desire to improve my knowledge of history. So I resort to that under-rated parenting skill – I improvise: “I’m going to learn more about history by reading all your Horrible Histories books,” I blurt out which, for some reason, they find hilarious. 

It’s a lot more fun getting the family involved in making New Year’s resolutions and I really believe I’ll stick to them this time. Not because I am more determined, but because I actually want to. Plus, the alternative is far worse – constant teasing from my children if I give up.

Sarah Kingsley is a freelance writer and has written for many parenting publications.



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