Has 2020 been a year to remember? While the months leading up to now have contained more than their share of anxiety, it’s time to dust off, regroup and look to the future with a hopeful heart.
If you want things to improve, you need to adopt habits that will keep you positive. Otherwise, daily stress and unanticipated crises can derail you and leave you moping on the couch. The following eight tips will set your family up for success this fall and always.
1. Get Everyone a Planner
You have a late-night meeting, your daughter has a soccer match and your son needs a ride home from band practice. How can you keep everything organized and make sure no one gets left behind?
The best way to keep on top of everyone’s responsibilities is to invest in planners and coordinate your schedules. You can find apps that let you organize everything in one place and share it with the clan. If it’s your partner’s turn to shop for groceries, you can add more items to the list without interrupting your workday with a phone call.
2. Increase Your Digital Literacy
Since the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic, work and school have moved online for many. However, when it comes to computers and operational literacy, 10% of students fail to meet the lowest benchmark for proficiency.
Even if traditional classes resume in your region, you need to prepare for the potential of returning to online learning. Spend some time as a family, taking computer courses to master various software programs. You’ll benefit, too — the added proficiency is a boon on your resume.
3. Tame the Household Budget
According to a TD Ameritrade study, fully 41% of Gen-Xers and 29% of Boomers disclosed divorcing their spouses due to financial disagreements. Without the inhibitory stigma other generations faced, millennials and Gen-Z may face higher rates.
To decrease strife, get your family budget under control. If you discover that you always have more bills than money to pay them, sit down and identify areas where you can reduce expenses. Can you cut up old T-shirts into rags instead of using paper towels? Do you genuinely need that cable subscription when you have Netflix, Hulu and Prime?
4. Hold a Family Meeting
When was the last time you got the gang together and talked? With today’s hectic lifestyles, family members can sometimes pass each other by like the proverbial nighttime ships. You might not know that your child struggles with anxiety or depression if you never chat.
Prepare a family meal and give everyone an equal opportunity to speak. Check-in with how everyone is doing and feeling — the pandemic can exacerbate symptoms of existing disorders and potentially lead to their development.
If you or your spouse have lost jobs or income, come clean with your plan in an age-appropriate way. Your kids can tell something is wrong, but depending on how old they are, they might think that they’re causing your distress. Comfort little ones, and explain that you will always love them and they are not to blame.
5. Adopt Healthy Meal-Prep Habits
When the day is long, and you’re exhausted, it’s natural to heed the siren song of the fast-food drive-thru lane. However, doing so too often will drain your coffers, pad your waistlines and lead to health woes.
Get your family in the kitchen with you on slow days to help you prep healthy meals that you can throw together in minutes. Even your youngest can help put snacks like cut carrot sticks and nuts into individual serving bags.
6. Move Your Collective Bodies
Exercise improves your mental health — according to Harvard, it works as effectively as antidepressants for some people. Plus, it provides a ton of physical perks, like weight and blood pressure control.
Why not take the entire gang on a walk after dinner together? You can also increase activity by taking your kids to the playground. Instead of sitting on the bench, hop on a swing or go down the slide with your littles.
7. Reduce Toxins in Your Home
If you use homemade cleaners, ensure at least one of the ingredients makes the EPA list for those effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, there are other ways to remove environmental toxins from your home and improve your family’s health.
Change your air filters once per month and pay attention to factors like pet dander and cigarette smoke, which can pollute your indoor air. Inspect your kitchen and bathrooms for mold, including under cabinets, and take immediate action if you find any. Install a shoe rack near your front door and have your family take theirs off when they come in — they can track in bacteria and fecal matter from outdoors.
8. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Everyone needs adequate sleep, not only your children. Establish a family charging station in the kitchen and have everyone plug in their devices before turning in for the night. The blue light from gadgets can disrupt sleep cycles.
Good sleep hygiene demands turning in and waking up at approximately the same time each day. Establish a bedtime and adhere to it as much as possible. You’ll be amazed by how you feel when well-rested.
Set Your Family Up for Success With These Tips
Setting your family up for success involves developing healthy habits and identifying and correcting minor issues before they become massive headaches. Follow these tips, and the rest of 2020 will make up for a rocky start to the year.
Written by Jennifer Landis
About the Author
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She’s quite fond of peanut butter, distance running, yoga, and drinking as much tea as possible. Find her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.
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