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Resolutions for Family Fun

Safety, schedules, sibling rivalry, work-family balance, nutrition, education, discipline, health – the list of things parents have to worry about goes on and on. It’s no wonder good old-fashioned fun often gets lost in the shuffle. These resolutions concentrate on wrangling smiles and laughter back onto a parent’s to-do list.



Penolope Leach, Author of numerous influential parenting books


David Elkind, Professor of child development and author of The Hurried Child


Ellen Goodman, Author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist


Nancy Samalin, Author of numerous parenting books, including Loving Without Spoiling and Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma




Penolope Leach, Author of numerous influential parenting books
I’d like parents to welcome 2003 resolved to lighten up at home and try to have fun! People go on and on about how hard it is to bring up a child. It is hard, but it’s also joyful and rewarding, and that scarcely gets a mention.


Although most people who want children at all want them for their own enjoyment, and know that pleasure is the point of having children, parents-to-be aren’t taught to expect an enchanting new person but a baby-shaped problem that cries and poos a lot and never sleeps. And after that, good parenting is presented as largely a matter of surviving (“terrible” toddlers and teens) and striving (for straight teeth, the “right” school and high grades).


Let’s not be so grim about kids. You’ll also revel in your baby, giggle with your toddler, rough-house and sing with your 6- and 16-year-old. And that’s not just OK, it’s an essential part of being the best parent you are capable of being.




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David Elkind, Professor of child development and author of The Hurried Child
“Make time for play.” That is the resolution that I hope most parents will make and follow. It is important to distinguish work and play because they are not the same as suggested by the phrase, “Play is the child’s work.”


Play always involves a transformation of reality in the service of self. A child who holds up a potato chip and says, “Look, Mommy, a butterfly,” is playing. Work, in contrast, always involves a transformation of the self in the service of the environment. A child who is learning to hold a knife and fork is working, is adapting to the demands of the environment.


Both play and work are learning activities, but what children learn from these two activities is quite different. Through engaging in free, spontaneous play, children learn to use their imaginations and creative talents. When playing with peers without the intervention of adults, children learn important social skills – mutual respect, the disposition to take the other person’s perspective and needs into account.


The joy children experience when engaged in true play leaves lasting, positive memories that can be called on at later moments of stress, unhappiness or grief. Play is neither an indulgence nor a waste of time; it is essential for the development of the healthy personality.


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Ellen Goodman, Author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist


New Year’s resolutions tend to be all things about urging yourself to get thinner, lose weight, stop watching TV, do your homework on time. New Year’s resolutions are usually all downers – all promises to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and try to do things better. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find things that are fun instead of resolving to do all this grim, self-deprecating stuff? Fun always gets put on the back burner. In 2003 let’s try to do something fun.


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Nancy Samalin,
Author of numerous parenting books, including Loving Without Spoiling and Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma
Every parent loves his or her child and wants to be the best parent he or she can be. It’s not that we are lacking in love or good intentions. However, as parents make their New Year’s resolutions, they need to realize that in addition to love, effective parenting requires skill. We have to be aware of what we’re saying and doing and if something isn’t working with our children, we need to try something different and be open to new approaches.


But more than anything else, parents need to find more ways to enjoy their kids and have fun with them. When I look back to when my children were young, I wish I had been less earnest and taken myself less seriously. We would all have had more joy had I been willing to just lighten up and be sillier.


So my suggestion for families going into 2003 is, “Let’s try to make family life more fun and add laughter to our loving!” Our kids need more of our focused attention. Remember, love is spelled T-I-M-E.


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See also:
President George W. Bush's Resolutions for Families
Well-Being Resolutions 

Parenting Resolutions


 


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