January 5, 2021 — By Wendy Sachs

It’s January, a time of new beginnings. However we find ourselves this year stuck in a few ways that are likely discouraging.

To combat those feelings, let’s focus on something we can control with an outcome of healthy habits or rituals. Children love the comforting feeling of routines. They love to know what is coming and what is expected. So the January is the perfect time to put a few easy habits in place.

Do you have a good bye ritual with your kiddo?

A short small thing every time you separate, this can be very helpful at different points in a child’s life such as going to school, being left with a sitter or transitioning to distance learning. It can be as simple as a secret handshake, a silly rhyme or a kiss on the hand. Because you are likely staying at home more often, simply practicing this with younger children when you leave a room will help cement the habit now, ready when we are all out and about again.

Do you have a hand-washing routine?

Surely we are washing hands more than normal, but it is nice to put special times each day in place where you wash.

What about a specific day for a special activity that helps you build relationships?

Maybe it is we take a walk together on Wednesday or game night on Fridays? Perhaps it is a monthly date night with a child individually, away from siblings. Putting it on the calendar at the beginning of each month gives everyone something to look forward to!

What about a family tradition?
A great family tradition is some sort of act of kindness or service to others. Maybe it is tied to a holiday or maybe it is even as easy as monthly checking in on a neighbor or donating to a food bank.

Have you ever set a family goal for the New Year?

Maybe it is a family goal about getting healthy together such as new matching water bottles with fun sayings on the side to get everyone drinking more water. Sharing a video Yoga class on Saturday morning is a great way to help kids be more focused and healthy. All kids are more likely to participate if parents are a part of the action.

What about an inspirational quote?

Mantras are wonderful ways to inspire your whole family. Print out a quote that truly keeps you going and post it in a central location. Maybe you discuss it over breakfast each Monday morning. If you aren’t a big fan of quotes, why not have a thankful day, a day when you each share something you appreciate over a family meal. It’s a simple way to help kids learn to be grateful and the power of positive thinking.

January is a natural time of beginnings. Consider that habit you’ve wanted to adopt.  Now is the time. It starts the year off right, it is an investment in that can continue to develop for years to come.