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One for all, all as one

Making resolutions that the whole family can keep

Making resolutions that the whole family can keep

December 30, 2005|by KRISTIN WILSON

kristinw@herald-mail.com

Dr. Phil wants you to do it. So do family doctors, psychologists and dietitians.

What is it? Making new year family resolutions.

About this time of year, many people take inventory of their life and vow to make some changes. But a family also can benefit from making a resolution that will carry it through the next 12 months.

Dr. Phil McGraw, of talk show fame, offers several tips on his Web site, www.drphil.com, for setting family resolutions this year.

He suggests thinking about what is most important to the family and questioning whether commitments and priorities are in the right place. If not, changes and resolutions should be made.

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Here are some ideas for new year resolutions families can make together:

· Eat meals together.

There are many reasons family mealtime is important. If your family is always running in opposite directions, try making the commitment to sit down and eat dinner together, at least a few times each week.

Research shows that regular, sit-down family meals play a role in reducing weight problems in children and in some cases, curbing behavioral problems, says Tammy Thornton, registered dietitian and nutrition/wellness services coordinator with the Washington County Health Department.

"When families eat together it helps prevent other risky behaviors that children get into like drugs and alcohol and early sexual experiences," Thornton says. That's because when families are regularly connecting - at least at the dinner table - parents are more likely to be aware of and involved with what is happening in their children's lives.

· Set family fitness goals.

We've all heard the statistics about overweight Americans. This year, decide as a family to buck that trend and be healthier. Make time to be active together and challenge each other to stick with it. While you are at it, make changes in the family diet. For example, resolve to drink less soda this year or try replacing snacks of ice cream and cookies with fresh fruit and yogurt.

· Read more books.

Build family reading time into the weekly schedule. Encourage the kids to finally get through the latest Harry Potter book and show them how their parents value reading, by reading with them.

Take advantage of free time.

·

Resolve that this year, instead of complaining that there is no time to do anything, make time. Set aside weekends to go to the park and have a picnic, or plan a long weekend to see something new.




Families in the Tri-State area have their own resolutions. Here are some of the goals families have set for themselves:

· "We're going to get a bigger house," say Brittany, 14, and Vanessa Kozak, 13, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

· "The only thing we plan to do is always be together at Christmas as a family," says Vicky Lewis of Hagerstown.

· The Brown family of Frederick, Md., say they are going to work on keeping their voices down this year - they always talk "very loud," says Christina Brown. They also resolved to "not argue in front of the kids."

· "My husband and I plan to better keep track of our bills," says Heidi Greenfield of Hedgesville, W.Va. "It seems as if everything is so hectic it's harder and harder to keep track of everything."

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