Family goals for the new year

The start of 2016 means we are all making goals for the upcoming year. Whether you choose just one word or have a list of resolutions, incorporating your children into your plans will make them easier to keep. No one is better for accountability than a toddler who shouts, “Mommy, why are you sitting down when the girl on the TV is still jumping?!”

Here are a few ways you can tackle common New Year’s resolutions with your kids and make it fun for both of you.

Resolutions: Eat better

Solution: Make veggies fun

Fruit and Veggies to the Rescue is an interactive show that turns your children into vegetable eating superheros and makes food fun and exciting. Once a month, Duke’s Alehouse (110 N. Main St., Crystal Lake) hosts the program. While parents enjoy a delicious brunch at Duke’s, children enjoy a free class exploring new fruits and veggies through fun activities and fresh adventures. Space is limited and an online reservation is required.

*If one of your resolutions is to go on more dates then consider this a bonus two-for-one!

Resolution: Save money

Solution: Free fun

If your resolution was to save money, look no further than your local library. If you have not used yours since your college days, you should give it another look. From Maker Labs and tech studios to awesome play spaces, your modern library has everything you need for free fun. We not only play there but we check out Wii games and movies to continue the fun times at home. And it’s all free! Well, if you return it on time.

Resolution: Get fit and lose weight

Solution: Work out together

Once a month (the next one is Jan. 13) Orinoco Fitness teaches a special parent and child class that incorporates yoga with fun storytelling and games to keep kids engaged. This 45 minute class gets everyone stretching and moving both in paired parent/child moves and as individuals. My children’s favorite part is the Yoga Freeze Dance. Cost is $12 per adult and $3 per child and each adult is limited to two children. Recommended for preschool age and up.

Resolution: Help others

Solution: Small actions kids can get behind

Last month, I shared 3 Lake County charities which all have great actionable ways to teach giving to children. Another great charity that is in real need as the temperatures plummet is PADS Lake County. PADS provides housing for homeless in Lake County and they have seen a huge increase in families and children. Putting together a donation of children’s socks (new) and books is an easy project and gesture that even young children can understand.

Here are some more ideas if you’re looking for some hands-on volunteering you can do as a family:

Adopt a Bookshelf from The Book Bridge.

Sort food at the Northern illinois Food Bank (8 and older) or your local Food Pantry.

Children as young as preschool can help sort books at Bernie’s Book Bank (Lake Forest).

Children as young as five can help pack meals at Feed My Starving Children (Libertyville).

Send letters or pictures to soldiers through Any Soldier.

Whatever your resolution you’re more likely to succeed if it fits into your current life so finding ways to do them with children makes it a win win!

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