New Year’s is a time for new beginnings, and what better way to celebrate with your little ones than to establish a New Year’s routine? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming; it’s all about making time to spend with one another and evolving together. You can create fun activities with your kids the whole family can appreciate, or incorporate new habits to start the new year on the right track. Read below for New Year’s routines for your child and how to integrate them.
How New Year’s Routines Benefit the Family
Children need routines for healthy development. It allows them to feel secure and safe in their environment, enabling them to learn self-regulation and to build confidence. Consider how you and your family can initiate new healthy habits in the new year or goals you wish to achieve. From healthier eating and exercising to spending less time on devices, there are a number of ways your family can take advantage of a new calendar year.
Meaningful New Year’s Routines for Kids
- Get Outside
Disconnect from devices and head out for fresh air. Research shows children need to spend time playing outdoors for their mental, physical, and emotional health. Sun exposure helps our bodies make vitamin D, an essential nutrient in many body processes from bone development to our immune system. Getting outdoors also encourages exercising, taking risks, and the opportunities to hone executive functions and social skills among peers.
On a daily basis, try to make time for walks around the neighborhood. On the weekends, search for a new park to explore together. You can bring sports equipment like a soccer ball or fishing gear, or hiking boots to wander through trails. You can also pack identification books to learn about local plants and wildlife for further enrichment.
- Share Family Meals
When possible, try to make family meals together. This will instill a sense of responsibility, an appreciation of resources, and the confidence to try new experiences. Kids will also be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor with a delicious meal or snack! Even if kids are too little to help, sharing a meal together promotes healthier eating habits and communication between families. Everyone has the chance to unwind, talk about their day, and bond with one another.
- Plan Movie Nights
From beloved animated movies and classic musicals to laugh-out-loud comedies, there are endless movies you and your little ones can watch together. Generally, you can find many family-appropriate films on streaming services like Disney+ or Netflix, but you can also go all out to the theater if you wish! Wondering where to start? TimeOut has you covered.
- Make Arts & Crafts
From homemade cards and table placemats to seasonal decorations, making arts and crafts is a gratifying journey that produces tangible results. Crafting also helps develop fine motor skills and pattern recognition, teach colors and shapes, stimulates critical thinking, and builds resilience. Just remember to keep it light and encourage kids to work through mistakes with grace.
Looking for ideas? CountryLiving has fun arts and crafts projects kids will love.
- Read Together
Read a chapter or small book together every day to nurture a love for reading and learning. This will also make them feel more confident about learning new words and concepts in a group setting. Ask questions about characters, setting, tone, and major themes as you go along.
You can schedule a weekly trip to the library for fresh finds or top-rated classics. To get started, check out NPR’s list of recommended books for young readers.