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Do More in 2016!

The beauty of a New Year is the opportunity for a fresh start. What better way to freshen up your family’s life than to really focus on the habits and attitudes that can make a difference for everyone around you.  

We’ve come up with 12 things your family can focus on in the New Year. With 12 in the list, you can choose to focus on a different item monthly; just write out the list on slips of paper and let your kids choose one at the first day of every month, or pick a new goal each day or week.  

1.       More Laughter: Look for ways to laugh as a family. Have a silly night and watch a comedic movie or show.  Start a joke-a-week tradition. Visit the library and take out a book of jokes.  

2.       More Mealtimes: Eating meals together provides a huge benefit to your family. This time together face to face provides you an opportunity to talk and learn from one another. It also is a chance to pass on your values to your child around healthy eating. So much can be accomplished by just sitting down to eat a meal together.  

3.       More Helpfulness: Chores help build strong character and compassion for others. Use a family chore chart to get everyone in your house in the habit of doing chores. They’ll gain a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. You’ll gain some needed help around the house!  

4.       More Thankfulness. Study after study shows that thankfulness breeds contentment and dispels depression. Make 2016 a year of thanksgiving. Put a chalkboard in your kitchen where everyone can write what they’re thankful for. Or, keep a family gratitude journal or jar. It’s always fun to look back at what you were thankful for throughout the year.  

5.       More Skills: Let everyone choose a new skill or talent to learn in 2016. How about a new language? Crochet, archery, or writing poetry? Have a family brainstorm and see what everyone comes up with.  

6.       More Surprises: Have a different surprise captain each month or week. Let them plan out at least one surprise for the family—a fun-themed meal, a picnic, a family outing.  

7.       More Sleep: Another simple idea that has a big payoff. Try it. Often we over program ourselves and families and forget about our need for relaxation. Have one night each week where you all go to bed early.  

8.       More Time Outs: Along with sleep a time out from the programed life is necessary for a family to recharge. Start a jar with a time out list and decide as a family to take a time out to do something that is away from the norm. Take a time out to visit the park or eat dessert before dinner.  

9.       More Love: Think of a “love project” for 2016. Maybe you can focus on the elderly friend, new moms, or neighbors you don’t know. Show compassion to others through volunteering and service.  

10.   More Patience: Talk about how great it would be if everyone in your family could show each other more patience this year. Encourage patience and reflect on when patience is needed – like on your commutes home.  

11.   More Memories: Make a big deal out of memory making. When you do something as a family, document it and celebrate it with a night to look at photos, mementos, or just talk about your adventures—whether big or small.  

12.   More Friendship: As you work to provide more to your family, take a moment to remember others. Share the challenge you’ve selected with friends and invite them to do more in 2016.  

What's one thing your family can focus on in the New Year?  We'd love to know!  Tweet your suggestions to us @ToCoYouth!

Monthly Messages are brought to you by the Tompkins County Youth Services Department, a proud partner of The Community Coalition for Healthy Youth.

If you have further questions or comments about this message or would like information on how to become involved with the Community Coalition for Healthy Youth, please email ahendrix@tompkins-co.org

Thank you in advance for sharing this monthly message with all of your networks.

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