Many people make New Year's resolutions each year. Goals are set for exercising, loosing weight or getting organized. But how many parents take the time to size up their family and set goals that will make their family closer and happier?
If you'd like to make a conscious effort to strengthen your family this year, consider these five strategies:
1. Commit to eating five or more meals together as a family. The family meal, once a common occurrence in American homes, has now been usurped by activity after activity. It's estimated that only 30 percent of families eat meals together regularly. Yet, all research points to the fact that the family meal is a relic worth saving.
A University of Michigan study found more meals at home are the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems. Meal time is far more powerful than time spent in school, studying, church, playing sports and art activities.
Choose activities for your child that don't commonly interrupt meal time or be creative about how you can still eat together.
2. Schedule a minimum of 1-2 hours a week together with your spouse. Married couples spend, on average, just four minutes a day in meaningful conversation, according to American Demographics. The number one activity that spouses do together is watch TV.
Couples seem to take for granted their relationship can go on auto-pilot, without care or nurturing. Yet without a strong marital foundation, the whole family system can fall apart.
One suggestion is to set aside 10 minutes a day to talk one-on-one with your spouse, uninterrupted. Wait until the children go to bed or set a boundary with them that mom and dad get 10 minutes alone after dinner each night to connect. You'll gain an hour more of together time each week by this simple practice! Keep reading ...
More marriage advice from YourTango: