Life can sometimes feel life a game of tug-of-war, especially when it comes to family.
To find harmony at home in the New Year, there are a few strategic adjustments that can be made. From spending a little less time behind the screen to expressing gratitude, Rakhi Beekrum, a Counselling Psychologist based in Durban shared resolutions to make together as a family that can help make your 2019 a success.
Beekrum’s seven New Year’s resolutions to make as a family:
1. Commit to having dinner together every night, at the table, with no distractions (e.g. phone or television).
This is an important ritual that helps keep the family connected so everyone knows what is going on in each other’s life. More importantly, it’s easier for the family to recognize if one member is distressed or withdrawn at times – this can lead to being supportive or seeking help if you discover a family member is going through something challenging.
2. Promote an attitude of gratitude through family rituals.
For example, a gratitude jar where each member writes something they’re grateful for each day and stores in the jar, which is opened on New Year’s Eve to recount their blessings. Or each member taking a turn at dinner to note what they’re most grateful for that day. Daily gratitude practices promote feelings of joy and aid in resilience during difficult times.
3. Digital detoxes.
Set rules for no-technology at home. This can include zones where no technology is to be used (e.g. bedrooms and bathrooms) or times that no technology is to be used (e.g. 2 hours before bedtime, or what works for the family). This will encourage more meaningful solitary or family activities such as reading, board games, etc. Even though technology keeps us connected to the outside world, it often disconnects us from those closest to us.
5. Get active as a family.
Exercise is beneficial in preventing lifestyle diseases and leads to improved overall fitness. Plan family activities that involve getting active, e.g. Park run, walks on the beach, cycling, sports or any physical activity that the family will enjoy and motivate each other in.
6. Game nights.
Board games help families connect, build stronger bonds, develop their mental abilities and improve knowledge.
7. Work as a team.
Every person that lives in a household should contribute in some way. Chores are a perfect way for each family member to contribute to the family and help each other, thereby decreasing the stress on any individual family member. Chores can be allocated according to age or ability. They may be shared or rotated. Once a week, allow the family to get involved in preparing a meal together. Not only does this ensure more quality family time, but it gives family members the opportunity to learn new skills and express their creativity.