January: Time for individual resolutions—about losing weight, exercising more, reading more, staying on top of family correspondence. It is also the time when families make resolutions to “do things right.” In the hustle and bustle of back to school and the holidays, routines that keep families safe and on track often fall by the wayside, so early January might be the ideal time to pledge anew to get organized and committed to making this year one of your best yet. And we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up a quick list of things to resolve to get done. And if you need some inspiration to get going, meet five local families who plan to make 2017 a good one.
The Geronimo Family
Ava Angel is only four years old, but her mom Richelle is hoping she considers sharing the remote control with her older siblings this year. “Ruben (12) and Elijah (14) have a tough time getting their little sister to give up the remote. She is glued to the program “Word Party” and doesn’t like having them change the channels.”
Ava’s Resolution: Share the remote control.
Sheila Drake and her husband and two children just moved into a new house. One-year-old Julian and four-year-old Sophia are a bit young for New Year’s resolutions, but Sheila is using a new environment to encourage her daughter to keep her room clean. “That is a big job,” Sheila says, “because Sophia has so many Barbie dolls. She has all the accessories and the toys, and it is common to find the Barbie stuff all over the place. We have a big tote to store all of it, but it doesn’t always get put away.”
Sophia’s Resolution: Keep Barbie Dolls
Sara Best and her husband Tim start each new year reminding their children (Noah-19, Maggie-17, and Hannah-14) about rules for happy co-habitation in a big family. “We have always told the three of them what we expected,” she said. “It was nothing new, just ‘Keep your rooms tidy,’ and ‘Speak kindly to each other,’ and ‘Be helpful.’” But this year is different. Brother Noah is away at college (Ohio State University), close enough to visit, but he can no longer be a buffer between the girls. “So,” Sara reported, “they agreed—with no encouragement from the parents—to refrain from borrowing each other’s clothes and using each other’s makeup without asking. Too many times, the borrower offered apologies after the fact, so I predict this will mean all kinds of peace and quiet in our house!! Maybe the classic sibling squabbles won’t happen here as often!”
Maggie & Hannah’s resolutions: Refrain from borrowing each other’s items without asking first.
Brennan Stein, 13, puts up with twin sisters Paige and Maddie, 10, all year long, but he has made a resolution to spend even more time with them in 2017. He has promised to play outside with them—building snow forts in the winter, going to the park or the pool in the summer. Sister Maddie has vowed to keep her room cleaner (right now mom and dad follow the “Close the door so we don’t see the mess” rule), and her twin, Paige, has agreed to spend less time watching television and more time getting along with her siblings. She says, “I think we can spend more time outside together getting along with each other.”
Maddie’s Resolution: Keep her room clean
Paige’s Resolution: Get outside
more with her siblings.
Brennan’s Resolution: Spend quality
time with sisters.
The Shannon Family
It’s no surprise that the Kevin Shannon family resolved to do more to help others in the new year. Kevin is the Campus Minister at St. Ursula Academy, where he works finding ways for the students there to do service to help others Eighteen-year-old Keegan and 14-year-old Maria have resolved to do more service work as a family, starting with their attendance at the Saturday morning community picnic held in the parking lot across the street from the Main branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Kevin notes, “Some Saturdays, there are several hundred people there. This is a reminder to our family that we have been blessed and we don’t want to get complacent. We learned how tentative life can be at one of those meetings. My wife served food to someone who had been a colleague of hers at work not too long before that, and we realized how easily we could find ourselves in that situation. It was very humbling, so I’m pleased my kids want to do more to help. It’s clear the world needs such kindness!”
Keegan & Maria’s resolution: Do more
service work as a family.
The Ermie Family
Joy Ermie works as a health educator and public information officer for the Henry County Health Department, as well as a Weight Watcher leader in Perrysburg and the Holland area. Her kids have surely learned about the value of healthy food and exercise, so she is pleased to relate the New Year’s Resolution they decided on all by themselves. Grace, 13, Luke 11, and Seth, 9 told their parents they would like to do more outdoor activities with them. Ermie notes, “We all enjoy being together outside, but as the kids are getting older, we seem to do less together. So they are encouraging us to make a conscious effort to spend more outdoor quality time together. We have already thought of the Lights at the Zoo, sledding and ice-skating for the winter, and long bike hikes on the paved bike paths through the Metroparks, and playing in the yard and going to the park with the dog more often when the weather warms up.”
Grace, Luke & Seth’s resolution: More outdoor activities with the whole family.
NEW YEAR TO-DOS
Make a Family Fire Escape Plan
Fire safety is an ongoing concern, and fires never take a break. The National Fire Prevention Association’s website (nfpa.org) is full of good information about making a family escape plan, including the importance of having several interconnected smoke alarms in the home (in each sleeping room, and outside each sleeping area), assigning the care and transport of infants and/or persons with limited mobility in case of an emergency, and the designation of a place to meet outside the home after everyone has escaped the fire. You’ll also find an escape planning grid on the site, as well as a Sleepover Checklist.
Get Healthy. Stay Active.
Follow the advice of Tara Robinson, M.D. of Maumee Bay Family Practice in Oregon: “keep moving.” She recommends some kind of physical activity 150 minutes per week, coupled with a diet full of fruits and vegetables. She advises, “Take advantage of annual checkups. Many of them are covered by insurance, so they are more affordable.”
That includes dental appointments, too.
Jan Bosserman, D.D.S., of Tower Dental encourages families to schedule dental visits for every six months. “Regular check-ups mean we can catch the small problems before they get too big,” he explains. He reminds parents to help kids under age six with brushing their teeth before they go to bed and when they get up, teaching proper technique, and recommends limiting sugary snacks and drinks. “
The New Year is the perfect time to give back by giving of your time. Kevin Shannon, the Campus Ministry director at St. Ursula, pairs students with agencies all over our area for service opportunities. Here are a few places to check out:
– Nightingales Harvest (2820 W. Alexis Road in Toledo, 419 725-1190) which offers food and nutrition services for cancer patients.
– Saturday Morning Community Picnic, which meets every Saturday on the grounds of the Main branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library on Michigan Avenue. Shannon says, “People just show up, some come for food, some bring food, all come for a sense of community. It’s a way to feed more than people’s stomachs; it feeds their need for contact with others.”
– Toledo Grows has community gardens all over Toledo, and is always looking for workers. Call 419 720-8714 for more information.
– The Cherry Street Mission (105 17th Street in Toledo, 419 242-5141) has a variety of volunteer opportunities, from preparing and serving meals to helping with painting or electrical work to serving in pantry support and food box distribution.
Make plans for your family to start the new year happy, healthy, and committed to helping others!