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Know! To Set
Family Goals for the New Year
January rolls in like a breath of fresh air. The calendar is reset and,
in many regards, it is a chance to begin anew and an opportunity to do
things “better” moving forward. The new year is also an ideal occasion
for parents and children to come together to set fresh goals as both a
family unit and as individuals. As you consider potential objectives
for 2017 we challenge you, as a family, to come up with ways to make
this a more meaningful, more impactful year.
Start by gathering your household members and briefly reflect on how
all of you functioned as a family the past 12 months. Ask each person
to share some positives, things that you’ll want to continue to do in
2017, as well as things that did not go so well and will need to be
Even if your family proves to be in good shape, there’s always room for
improvement. Some ideas just about every family can incorporate include:
Argue Less, Talk More (and practice active listening): Open (or
strengthen) the lines of communication between you and your children.
Be sure to regularly cover the big stuff, including the dangers of
underage drinking, smoking and other drug use, but don’t forget the
everyday chats to know what’s happening in your children’s daily lives.
Eat Dinner Together as a Family Often (at least four nights a week,
when possible): It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive; it
is the sitting down together and connecting that matters. Research
shows that kids who eat dinner with their families not only get better
grades, but are less likely to engage in teen smoking, drinking or
other drug use.
Create a 2017 Family Goal List: Ensure more time for family fun by
creating a list of activities you want to do as a family. Get active
together, plan a road trip, or take on a new family hobby. It doesn’t
have to be over-the-top, super time-consuming or expensive to be fun.
The idea is to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.
Strive for Balance on the Calendar: Staying active is essential, but
try not to over-commit yourself or your family. Over-committing equals
worn out, stressed-out kids and adults, which does no one any good.
Families are made up of individuals, and it is also important for each
family member to set personal goals. The American Academy of Pediatrics
encourages adolescents to focus their personal goals on helping others
through community service, taking more responsibility for their
actions, taking better care of their bodies, dealing with conflict and
stress in more healthy, positive ways, and resisting alcohol and other
As you talk through your family and individual goals for 2017, be sure
to write them down, hang them up and refer to them often. This way, the
goals won’t be forgotten when the novelty of the new year wears off.
Learn how to get the conversation started at StartTalking.Ohio.Gov.