Every New Year comes with a lot of pressure: become a “new you,” create a new fitness routine, resolve to be better or more productive or more together than you were the year before. While setting goals is beautiful and good, sometimes the urgency to achieve and aim high at the start of the year can be a bit… much.

But what if, on the downslope of a pandemic and the beginning of a hopeful new year, we chose gentler resolutions? Resolutions the whole family could work to keep together. Resolutions with a lot of grace and a little flexibility in them. After all, parenthood was already stressful enough without the weight of an ever-changing COVID protocol. What if, this year, we let our resolutions land a little more softly?

We’ve come up with three gentle resolutions for your young family to share. Resolutions designed to foster rest and connection, laughter and peace. Resolutions we hope will bring you a New Year absolutely brimming with joy.

1. Resolve to be Present Together

Philosopher Simone Weil said “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” But in a world that demands we stay in 24/7 response mode to email alerts, text notifications, newsfeeds, updates, and last-minute sales, our loved ones often don’t get enough of our undivided attention.

What if, in 2022, we resolve to set aside a small piece of protected time to be wholly present with our families or friends? Maybe it’s the simple act of putting our screens away during dinner or leaving our phones in another room for 30 minutes before bedtime. Maybe it’s a monthly phone-free evening with our closest friends or walk during our lunch break, or the practice of setting an email away message on Saturdays.

Whatever method fits your family best, find a way to carve out a little more time to be fully present with each other, and fully available to the moments and memories waiting to be made.

2. Resolve to Play Together

We get it – not every parent loves building with blocks or make-believe playing with their little one’s dolls. And that’s okay! But carefree, playful time together is essential for bonding and stress relief for adults, children, and babies alike. We all agree our current world is certainly stressful enough, so in 2022, let’s resolve to make time for play!

Here’s the only and most important rule: your family gets to decide what play looks like for you. Is it time at the park together, when everyone, even the parents, swings and slides? Is it a board game or a trip to an amusement park? Is it a habit of singing loud songs in the car on the way to school, or “dancing it out” in the living room after bath time? Playtime doesn’t have to mean LEGOs or dress-up in the playroom. Find an activity that makes everyone in your family feel silly, giggle a few times, and crack a much needed, stress-relieving smile.

3. Resolve to Explore Togethe4 

Many of us, and our kids, have spent a lot of time these last two years feeling stuck. Stuck in our houses, stuck away from our friends, stuck waiting for something to be over or something to begin. Stuck never feels good, so what if, in 2022, we resolve to fight stuckness by exploring together?

Maybe your family will take the word explore literally and plan a road trip or set a goal to hike all of your local trails. Maybe you’ll try to snap a selfie in front of every single one of your city’s outdoor murals or go check out a new city you’ve never visited before. Or maybe you’ll explore in a different way, without ever having to leave home. Maybe you’ll try cooking traditional foods from all over the world, or learn a new language together, or commit to reading a series of books as a family. Maybe you’ll paint the walls of your home a non-traditional color or embark on a series of science experiments to see what kind of messes you can make!

However you choose to explore, the act of trying and learning something new as a family can help un-stick all those stuck feelings, AND encourage you to play together, AND help you be fully present. Sounds like a win to us! 

Whichever resolution you decide to make as a family this year, resolve to help each other keep it, as well as give each other lots of space and permission to struggle, fail, and try again. After all, the chance to make a new choice isn’t limited to a once-a-year countdown – it’s a choice we can make any day, any hour, any minute. The moments your family is collecting are precious. We hope you feel empowered and encouraged to choose to make them as magical, connected, and memorable as you can.

Want to share your family resolutions with us? Just tag us, or use the #dadadamoment to get our attention – we’d love to see what you come up with!

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