It’s almost the end of January – and I’m sure I could dig up some sort of statistic to share with you about how many New Year’s Resolutions are broken by now…but really, who needs that extra stress? I mean seriously, it’s hard enough to keep up with the day-to-day of life as a parent, let alone trying to layer on the pressure of getting more sleep, saving money and working out. No wonder they get broken!
Life is too short and family time is too precious. So why not take advantage of the fact that it’s still January to change your resolution and join us in the 12 month “Time Well Spent Family Challenge” challenge? It’s one activity per month that will hopefully be a little more manageable, less stressful and give you a great excuse to get the family together.
Are you up for it?
January – Visit a library: In celebration of National Literacy Day on January 27th, how about planning a family trip to any one of the great public libraries in HRM? While you’re there be sure to browse their huge selection of books, stop for a play in the children’s area, check out their events calendar and more. Before you leave, don’t forget to take a few minutes to get your kids their own library card!
February – From the Heart: We could easily suggest that you just do a valentine’s day craft and call it a month, but why not dial it up a little more. This month, it’s all about doing a simple act of kindness that come straight from the heart. Get the family to help shovel an elder neighbour’s driveway, volunteer to canvas for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, bake cookies for someone who may need a little lift or leave anonymous valentine’s in mailboxes around your neighbourhood with a happy message inside. Just be sure to spread some love this month.
March – Go Green: Here’s a fun combo to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as well as National Nutrition Month. At least once a week for the month of March, challenge your family to try a new green vegetable that you haven’t tried before. It’s not as boring as it sounds when you throw in a little fun. Have everyone take their first bite together or have the kids do a blind taste test and and let them guess what green veggie it could be. Heck you can even make up a song about it to make it more exciting. Don’t worry, if green peas are even a stretch for you, we’ll enlist Wendy, our Bringing Balance blogger to help share some of her favourite green veggie recipes when the time comes. Who knows, by the end of the month you may have some new green vegetables to love!
April – Darkness Calls: This one is easy. April 22nd is Earth Day so do your part by participating in Earth Hour. Shut down the iPads, turn off the TV and light some candles and enjoy a full hour of family time. We’ll be sharing some tips and tricks for making sure there’s something for everyone to do and who knows, you may end up keeping the lights off well beyond the hour.
May – Family Tree: Don’t stop with just celebrating mom this month, and take some time to create a simple family tree. This is especially meaningful if you have family members that live far away. Our kids are always fascinated to hear stories about their great-grandparents and often get confused about relatives that they don’t see often, so including pictures will make it even more special. Here’s a great book that can help with the process.
June – Stay Safe: It’s National Safety Month, so how about using it as a great time to cover some important safety awareness topics with the family. Do your kids know their telephone number or about calling 911? Can they recognize the symbols for poison or dangerous products? Have you ever planned a home fire drill? We’ll be sure to share lots of great resources when the time comes, but slot it in the calendar to get your family in the safety zone this month.
July – Picnic Time: Yup, simple as that. Pack the picnic basket, throw some juice boxes in the cooler, grab a blanket and head to the nearest park for a good old fashioned family picnic.
August – Reach for the Stars: We can’t wait for this one…it’s another easy one that you’ll be glad you did. Pick a good clear night and head out to the backyard for an evening under the stars. Forget the lawn chairs, cover an area with blankets and line the family up. Then spend 30 minutes just watching the stars. See who can find the big dipper first or maybe spot a shooting star. While you’re there, maybe spark up a chat about what each person would wish for or what he or she would do if they could go to the moon.
September – Back to the Books: Ok, we know this is hands down one of the busiest months of the year for any families with school aged kids. Getting back into the swing of things with routines, activities and homework doesn’t leave much time for anything else. So we’ll keep it simple. Read. Just read. Even if it’s just a few minutes before bedtime, try and share at least one book (or chapter) a night with your child. Even older kids, who are reading chapter books, will still get so much from having you read to them for a change. Plus it’s some guaranteed cuddle time, how could you not accept this challenge?
October – Give Thanks: This should be fun. In the spirit of Thanksgiving pick a day of the month where the family will be together for most of the day (if possible) and play the thank-you game. It’s pretty simple, anytime anyone says or does something nice for another person, they have to say “thank you”. If you remember to say thank you, you get a sticker. If you forget and someone catches you, you lose a sticker. At the end of the day, whoever has the most stickers is crowned the most thankful! A little friendly competition will be fun and the lesson in manners doesn’t hurt either.
November – Remembering: This month’s challenge is all about honoring our soldiers, past and present, and taking the time to ensure your kids are aware of the sacrifices they have made. Make plans to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony in your area or visit one of the many forts, museums or monuments around HRM. Read “In Flander’s Fields” poem to your kids or even have your older children write a note to a soldier serving overseas or a local veteran. It won’t take much time, but is bound to have a lasting impression.
December – Movie Night: It’s the last month of the year and what a better way to celebrate completing our challenge than with a family movie night. Plus it’ll be a nice get-away from the rush of the holidays. All you need is a big bowl of popcorn, some blankets to keep you cozy on the couch and a great family movie to make your challenge complete. Who knows, maybe having more “movie nights” will become your resolution for 2013!