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Every January, many people use the new year as a starting point to make changes in their lives. These decisions are made to make their lives better. Whether the resolution is to eat healthier, exercise more, get organized, etc., it is usually a personal change. Imagine choosing a resolution as a family. It could create much needed family time, strengthen those precious bonds, and make the lives of all family members better. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Family cooking

My oldest child goes to a Montessori school in Simpsonville, and from a very early age, they taught her practical skills for everyday life. For example, they teach the kids cooking skills, but not just how to cut an onion or boil water. These children host a meal for their classmates and take it from beginning to end. They decide on a menu, create a shopping list, actually go to the store and purchase the goods (all within a specified budget), cook the meal, and serve it to their classmates.

This is one way to spend time together while also learning something new. If you involve the children in the process, you can teach them valuable skills needed to be successful in their adult lives. Spend a Saturday and let the children choose the menu. The Internet is filled with great sites that can be used as a resource. Doing this with your children gives them lessons on math, budgeting, diet, and you get quality time with them. Then you get to eat your creations!

Game night

Every website focused on family life is going to suggest sitting down and creating a game night with your children. Here’s a twist that will also give you the chance to re-capture some old glory. Why not use a family game night to introduce your children to the classics? Introduce them to Asteroids, Centipede, the original Mario Bros. games, etc. Challenge your kids to TecmoBowl tournaments, or relish in the euphoria that is Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!

Many of these games are available for current gaming consoles, or through Internet play. Some children who have already been exposed to the technology in today’s video games may laugh, but this is a great time to tell stories about your childhood and how you used to play these games.

Let them show you the games they enjoy and you can teach each other and have a lot of fun doing it.

A day of rest

Step away from the technology. How did we all survive before we had smart phones and all this technology at our finger tips? Our parents seemed to have survived without it. Putting it down for a little while can’t possibly hurt that bad, right? A little sunlight and the smells of nature never hurt anyone. However, if getting outside isn’t an option, there’s still plenty to do. Pick up a real book, feel the pages in your hand instead of a tablet. Have a record player? Remember why you fell in love with music in the first place. Holding the album, looking at the cover art, listening to the soft tones that come from an actual record will bring you back. It takes you where the stark, sterile quality of a digital recording never can.

Trying any of these simple ideas will only enhance your family life. Enjoy that time with your children, because in the blink of an eye, they’ll be off to college … and then the real fun begins.

Happy New Year!

Talk to Victor

Victor Alfieri is an avid music fan who has three children with his wife, Stephanie. Connect at Facebook.com/VJAlfieri and @VictorWordkr.

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