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New habits to start with your children in 2014

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This year, instead of just resolving to spend more quality time with your children, come up with a list of new habits to start together. Commit to trying some of these things, which will bring your family closer and teach your children valuable life lessons.

Practice daily affirmations
Positive affirmations can help both adults and children develop a healthy self-esteem. Hearing positive words first thing in the morning can help set the tone for a great day and the more often positive words are heard, the more they will be internalized. If your child is old enough, let them help choose which affirmations they would like to say. Create affirmation cards together and let them choose one or two to say together everyday.

Express gratitude together
This can easily be incorporated into a bed-time routine. Take a few minutes to review the day and have a little discussion with your children about what they are grateful for. Encourage your children to look beyond “things” and find gratitude in the non-material. Once a week, write down one thing you are especially grateful for put it in a special “gratitude jar”. At the end of the year, you can review all the amazing things that have happened.

Learn about money
It’s never too early to teach children about how much things cost, the importance of saving – and that money must be earned through hard work. Instead of using credit cards every time you go out, make an effort to pay cash and use each transaction as a teaching moment for your children. Encourage your children to save money in a piggy bank and help them think of something they would like to do with the money they’ve saved.

Explore your city together
It’s easy to get wrapped up with all the things on our “to-do” list and forget the beauty of the place we live. Too many people live somewhere their entire lives and never explore or really get to know their own town or city. Go to your local visitor’s bureau and pick up some pamphlets. Then, make a list of all the things you’d like to experience together.

Start a volunteer project
Volunteering can have an impact not only on your community, but also on your mind and body. Doing good for others provides a sense of pride and accomplishment and can help give children a better outlook on life. Encourage your children to think about which causes are important to them and brainstorm different ways to get involved.

Remember, these new habits can have a lasting effect on your entire family. Letting your children be part of the process of choosing new, healthy habits is just as important as following through with them. If you decide to take on more than one new habit this year start small to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Incorporate a new habit each month and notice the impact each one has on your family.