Make youth focus of New Year's resolutions
By Trisha Sheehan University of Minnesota Extension Service A new year is just around the corner and with this celebration comes the infamous New Year's resolution. What about focusing your resolutions on bettering the lives of kids? If you don't...
By Trisha Sheehan
University of Minnesota
A new year is just around the corner and with this celebration comes the infamous New Year's resolution. What about focusing your resolutions on bettering the lives of kids? If you don't have children of your own - or yours are grown - resolve to be a mentor to a child. The time you commit to that child means so much to him or her. These children have another adult in their lives they can learn to trust and enjoy.
If you do have children in your family, you might resolve to hold weekly meetings where schedules, successes, chores and struggles are discussed and worked on by the entire family. It can be pizza night every Sunday or a special meal one day of the week.
University of Minnesota Professor Bill Doherty, in his book "Take Back Your Family Time," wrote: "Many of today's families suffer from time famine and parental anxiety. Parents want to provide their children with opportunities without running them ragged. Families have lost control of their time and are missing out on family rituals, like regular dinners, visits with grandparents and family relations."
Trying to spend more time as a family communicates commitment and love.
Speaking of communication, why not resolve to become better at talking to and listening to your kids? Knowing what your kids are doing and with whom is your business.
Talk with them about their lives and listen to what they have to say. Help them resolve a conflict. Communication comes in many forms. It's the hug they receive from you, the smile of approval and the time you spend with them.
You might make a resolution to read with your children. Reading is a life-long hobby that can easily be shared with others to make it even more enjoyable. I love reading with my children because each page is more exciting than the last in their minds. At our home, bedtime books are a must and tears are shed if that time isn't spent reading at least two books.
Try to involve your children in a community organization or activity. You can be involved with them as well. For example, in 4-H we encourage parents to join their children at club meetings, where they learn life-long skills in a variety of areas. They also learn to help others through community service.
Whether or not you have children, you can turn over a new leaf this year and make youth the focus of your resolutions. This could be your opportunity to develop and strengthen relationships with your children or the child down the street.
Trisha Sheehan is a 4-H youth development educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service.