New Year’s Eve may not initially come to mind regarding kid-friendly holidays. But just because the little ones might nod off before midnight doesn’t mean they can’t participate in the festivities. New Year’s Eve presents a special opportunity for families to come together and set goals for the months ahead.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 family-focused New Year’s resolutions to help you. Several ideas here echo the personal goals you may have already set for yourself this year – we just put a family spin on them! Read on for inspiring and heartwarming ways to ring in the new year as a family unit.
Create Reading Time
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more books, here’s a fun idea! Make weekly library trips a new household tradition. Choose a day like Saturday when everyone’s home to head out to one of Austin’s many public libraries and let each person pick out some fresh reading material. Once you get your books home, set aside electronics-free reading areas and a daily family reading time. Then, during dinner, chat about the cool things you’ve discovered in your books. Swapping highlights can make reading even more rewarding. You’ll discover awesome new stories while spending fun family time together! library.austintexas.gov
Eat Meals Together
Eating together as a family provides numerous benefits regarding nutrition and relationships. Experts recommend gathering for meals, especially breakfast and dinner, as often as possible. Doing so allows you to model healthy eating habits for your children from an early age. It also provides dedicated time to try new dishes made with nutritious ingredients. Families cooking and eating the same foods reinforce bonds and facilitate open communication. Ultimately, breaking bread together lays the foundation for positive dietary changes and meaningful connections that can last a lifetime. The shared experience of preparing, serving, and enjoying food face-to-face is an optimal way to nurture health and relationships. thefamilydinnerproject.org/about-us/benefits-of-family-dinners/
Exercise as a Family
Exercise offers numerous health benefits for all. Beyond building physical fitness, regular activity also reduces stress and boosts mood. Families may find it difficult to commit to gym routines. However, more accessible activities can encourage an appreciation of exercise. Going for walks, playing catch or pickup basketball games, or joining an Austin recreational sports team together makes staying active enjoyable. Everyone can experience extensive physical and mental perks by integrating movement into family life. austintexas.gov/department/youth-sports
Go to Bed at the Same Time
Sleep experts recommend that people of all ages aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support optimal health and well-being. However, many families treat bedtimes as flexible guidelines rather than important rules. Often, bedtime rules only apply to young children, while teens and adults stay up late using electronic devices. This year, consider instituting a set “lights out” time for the whole family to help ensure everyone gets the sleep they need. Adults should lead by example, putting away their phones and laptops to wind down before the set sleep time. Collecting electronic devices from kids and teens also prevents them from staying up too late. Making sleep a family priority helps reduce daytime fatigue and strengthens family bonds as you start and end each day together. bbc.com/news/health-66372087
Grow a Garden
Setting aside a regular time for family gardening is a worthwhile activity with numerous benefits. Even a modest garden patch or a few potted herbs indoors can foster meaningful interactions and learning. Experts widely agree that gardening helps children understand food origins while acquiring new skills. An hour a week enables fun activities integrating science and nutrition concepts naturally. Adapt the garden’s scope to your space constraints. Focus initially on easy crops liked by children. Besides food knowledge, little ones build life skills like planning, responsibility, nurturing, and environmental awareness. They also gain exercise and connect with nature. These advantages arise best when adults jointly participate as guides. Schedule consistent gardening sessions on weekends or light weekday evenings. Make it lively by varying the tasks and producing growth over time. Both kids and parents can discover rewarding hobbies through gentle exposure. The Natural Gardener in southwest Austin has an amazing selection of starter vegetables and seasonal plants to help you start your garden. Their staff is also very helpful and can point you in the right direction for a successful garden. tngaustin.com
Say Goodbye to Soda
Switching from soda to sparkling water offers health and financial benefits. Carbonated drinks often contain excess sugar, which can contribute to weight gain and related illnesses. Flavored sparkling waters provide a refreshing, fizzy alternative without the added sugars. This simple swap benefits the whole family – the lack of empty calories prevents unhealthy weight gain while the cost savings increase over time. Sparkling water with natural flavors lets kids enjoy a fun, bubbly treat that is better for their health and the development of good nutritional habits. Providing more wholesome beverage options at home allows the household to make positive changes. beaumont.org/health-wellness/blogs/6-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda
Set Financial Goals
As parents, you may be hesitant to discuss money matters with your kids, especially if you have debt or other financial struggles. However, having open conversations about family finances can help prepare children for adulthood. You give kids insight into real-world budgeting and financial goal-setting by involving them in money discussions. This hands-on learning teaches valuable skills like smart spending habits and saving. Age-appropriate money talks allow children to see finances firsthand, take ownership of decisions, and understand trade-offs. While it may feel uncomfortable initially, transparency around household income, expenses, and saving for the future sets a strong foundation for financial literacy. Equipping kids with real budget knowledge eases anxiety, promotes smart choices, and builds responsible money management.Opening a savings account is a great step in helping children learn to budget and save. Check out some of the credit unions in Austin that offer great options for kids to start saving. Though finances can be sensitive, communication and guidance are cornerstones for success. kxan.com/studio-512/open-a-youth-checking-debit-account-with-austin-telco
Start a Family Game Night
A regular family game night offers numerous benefits for bringing your family closer together. Setting aside dedicated time each week to gather around a board game or cards establishes an important tradition of quality bonding. Engaging in friendly competition and conversation nourishes open communication channels between parents and children. This promotes trust during the formative years and paves the way for more understanding discussions when kids grow into their teen years. Ultimately, a weekly game night turbocharges relationships in a fun way. Laughter and smiles abound when families come together to play their favorite games. The positive energy and connectivity generated during these nights can be felt throughout the week as family members treat each other with more patience, empathy, and support. In today’s complex world, a recurring occasion for screen-free interaction nourishes the soul. pbs.org/parents/thrive/bringing-back-family-game-night
Try and Go Meatless
Studies show that reducing meat intake and increasing vegetable consumption provides health, financial, and environmental benefits. Consider trying a weekly meatless meal. Going meatless once a week reduces saturated fat and cholesterol intake, saving money while promoting personal and planetary health. Introducing vegetable-centric dishes early helps children develop more adventurous palates. As meatless meals become routine, families often discover new favorite foods and adopt vegetarian eating as a lifestyle. To make it easier on you and your family there are many Austin resturants that offer meatless meals and have many delicious vegan options. austinmonthly.com/the-best-new-plant-based-restaurants-around-town
Experts suggest establishing “unplugged time” before bed as a helpful way to unwind after a stressful day. Unplugged time refers to a period with no usage of electronics. This allows the mind and body to relax in preparation for sleep. Reading a book or engaging in another non-electronic quiet activity enables decompression from the day’s pressures. Most sleep specialists advise avoiding electronics for one hour minimum before trying to fall asleep. Powering down screens limits exposure to stimulating blue light. It eliminates engagement and mental stimulation from apps, videos, and games. Implementing a daily pre-bed unplugged time makes it easier to transition into a drowsy state for quality, uninterrupted rest. Adults and kids alike benefit from incorporating this beneficial habit. thehumanbeautymovement.com/the-benefits-of-unplugging
As we look ahead to the new year, setting meaningful resolutions as a family can help us grow together positively. The key is choosing goals that align with our values and support one another. This not only models good behavior for children but also makes achievement more likely when the whole household works toward the same ends. Whether we aim to be more active, eat healthier foods, nurture relationships, contribute to worthy causes, or just find more moments for fun and laughter, a shared commitment helps us motivate and inspire each other. The new year reminds us of the passing of time and the chance for renewal. Focusing on self-improvement goals that benefit the family nourishes our connections and deepens our purpose. When we come together to support resolutions that matter most, we build traditions that can sustain us for years.