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New Year’s Resolutions Can be a Family Affair

PHOTO: Many New Year's resolutions revolve around losing weight. Instead of thinking about a number on the scale, says Hansen, teach children to focus on their overall health.
PHOTO: Many New Year's resolutions revolve around losing weight. Instead of thinking about a number on the scale, says Hansen, teach children to focus on their overall health.
January 3, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The New Year is upon us, and a clinical psychologist says it's a good idea to gather as a family to reflect on the past 12 months and to discuss possible resolutions for the year ahead. Dr. William Hansen with Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, says parents might even learn something new about their children's wants or fears.

"Resolutions are about looking backward, about this year that's just coming to an end - what was good, what wasn't so good - and then making plans moving forward: things you'd like to achieve, things you'd like to do. As a family, it greatly stimulates that sort of discussion."

He suggests making some resolutions as a family, such as planning a special trip or setting aside time for a weekly activity. In New Mexico, some hikers got a head start on their resolutions by exercising at state parks that opened for special New Year's Day hikes.

Many New Year's resolutions revolve around losing weight. Instead of thinking about a number on the scale, Hansen suggests, parents should teach children to focus on their overall health.

"It could include modifying diet, increasing exercise. Talk about healthy choices in terms of physical health and also emotional health and social health."

Sitting down for a nightly family dinner is a great way to connect with kids, he adds, to ensure they're making good decisions for their own health and well-being.

Before diving into a new activity or interest, Hansen says parents need to help children understand exactly what it will involve, so they know if it's the right fit.

"Talk about what it entails and the commitment that it would take, and help them measure whether or not they're ready for that sort of commitment. If so, with them, explore the various options."

To stay on track with resolutions, Hansen says families can use charts or lists as tools to monitor behavior or progress toward a goal. He adds that it's important to stay focused and not obsessed.

Renee Blake, Public News Service - NM