As the happy rush of Christmas fades and another busy year draws to a close we find ourselves thinking ahead to the New Year and wondering what it might hold for us. A new year holds promise, a mark between the old and the new. A time for fresh beginnings. It is a time that we make New Year’s resolutions. We have compiled some of our favorite ones for families this year. Resolutions that are worth making, and even better, worth keeping.
Eat Cleaner: With all the information out there on healthy eating it’s hard to have missed what clean eating is all about, but we recommend keeping it simple, less processed foods. Load up on fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, plant and animal based proteins and healthy fats. Limit sugar, sodium, Trans fats and additives. Be prepared when leaving home by investing in lots of smaller containers or Bento boxes so that you can have a good supply of things like fruit pieces, vegetables, nuts and pieces of cheese. Make a treat day once a week (and stick to it) and give a budget that allows your child to choose 1-2 items.
Create a Family Ritual: This could be a movie and homemade pizza night where the children choose their toppings and decorate their own pizza, or Saturday morning neighborhood exploration. Get out on foot or on bicycles and explore with the added bonus of being active and creating lifelong memories. Other ideas include Games night, International food night or craft night. Why not ask your children to suggest what they might like to do. Rituals and routines should reflect your family and help to create a sense of cohesion. Practice them as often as works for your family and keep it simple.
Practice Gratitude: Name one thing you are all grateful for at the dinner table or just before bed. You will be amazed at how many different things your children will come up with. According to studies gratitude boosts your physical and psychological health. The practice of gratitude also increases empathy, improves sleep and self-esteem.
Keep Clutter and Mess under Control: No one loves cleaning but it’s hard to relax or be productive in a messy environment. Have a ten minute tidy up challenge once a day. Children tidy toys and bedrooms, parent’s kitchens and living areas. Speed is the key word here. You want to make it fun and feel like you all achieved something. Offer a weekly prize if it helps get your children motivated.
Breathe Cleaner Air: In study conducted by NASA, it was found that different plants help to purify the air inside your home of various chemicals. We recommend a Google search if you know of particular chemicals in your home but if you don’t know, choose a few different plants to place in your home. Cleaning products like laundry detergents release chemicals. Formaldehyde is released from garbage bags, carpets and some fabrics. Mattresses may contain flame retardants. Chrysanthemums have been shown to remove formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and benzene from air. Other good plants include the peace lily, dracaena, bamboo palm and aloe vera.
Sleep well: A good night’s sleep is crucial to coping with life’s challenges. Lack of or poor quality sleep impacts cognition, mood, motor responses and can even cause weight gain. Check the lighting in your home. Avoid led or blue wavelength lights in bathrooms or bedrooms as these affect the body’s ability to produce melatonin. Use red or amber light night lights for children like Tick Tock Turtle as these won’t affect melatonin production. Switch off TV and gadgets an hour before bedtime (this will also reduce the temptation to read one more article or watch one more episode). Drink a soothing drink like chamomile or warm milk, add a few drops of lavender oil to your pillow or child’s soft toy and read a book before bed. A warm bath or shower relaxes muscles and raises body temperature. The rapid drop in body temperature when you get out signals your body that it's time to rest, slowing down essential metabolic functions including heart rate, breathing, and digestion. Also ensure your bedroom is not too warm. The optimum temperature for sleep is 65°F or 18°C.
Make 2018 the year of family. Be healthy together and create lots of special memories. Wishing your families a prosperous and happy New Year!