Ring in 2013

Kidding around with New Year’s resolutions: Personal improvement for the entire family

Kidding around with New Year’s resolutions: Personal improvement for the entire family

Austin Photo Set: News_roby_family resolutions_dec 2012
Courtesy of hopefamily.com

Kids seem to get out of the New Year's resolutions racket pretty easily. 

I guess that lives of learning, leisure and endless streams of entertaining apps doesn’t demand improvement. New Year’s resolutions are about breaking bad habits, personal upgrades or expanding our horizons. Rare is the parent that sticks with them; we’re caught in the middle of raising kids while trying to grow as people. Making resolutions that encourage growth in every member of the family is a smart way to get everyone involved in improving their world view. Your kids won’t see them as “resolutions” if they’re too busy having fun. You might do the same.  

One fit family 

Admit it: You saw the couch more than a jogging trail in 2012. As society pleads for kids to get 60 minutes of exercise, most adults never leave their desk — unless it’s for a trip  to the fridge. Austin has plenty of options for getting families into exercise. Most health clubs have kids activities, and the YMCA of Austin is extremely affordable. The Little Gym is good for little ones or aspiring gymnasts, and if money is tight, know that Austin’s best fitness location is absolutely free. You can’t go wrong with a walk around Lady Bird Lake every Saturday morning.  

Adventurous tastes

The days of reading menus that weren’t accompanied by four crayons are probably a distant memory for most us. Kids aren’t the most adventurous eaters, meanwhile, we hunger to try that hot new restaurant or buzz-worthy food truck. Making an effort to try a new eatery once a month will satisfy your urge for new tastes, while gently nudging your kids to try new things. It could be as easy as trying Lucy's Fried Chicken instead of settling for McNuggets. If you’re going to go out to eat, make it worth your money.  

Everyone needs a hobby

Remember hobbies? The things we liked to do in our off hours, before they were overtaken with bath time? Get that time back by picking a new hobby that you can share with the kids. Curious about painting or pottery? Sign up for Art Plus Academy or Cafe Monet. Visit a hobby store and get back into model rockets or remote controlled cars. The more interested you are in the hobby, the more likely your kids will be excited about it, too. A good store to get ideas is Whole Earth Provisions, where there are plenty of kids books, puppets and crafts to spark little — and big — imaginations. 

Get out

You can’t blame parents for becoming shut-ins. Keeping dozens of entertainment options within arm's reach is easier than taming the unpredictable elements of visiting someone’s house. Stave off cabin fever by getting out of the house one or two weekends a month. Take in a Round Rock Express game, the Austin Children's Museum, or take a road trip to San Antonio. The popular Alamo Drafthouse Kid’s Club is a free classic movie for adults and kids. If you really want to get outside, Texas Parks and Recreation offers a course that teaches families the basics on roughing it in the great outdoors. Whatever the season, you have good reason to get out more often. 

An education

Every year is the year I’m going to learn guitar. This year is no different. If you’re in a similar spot, think about something you and your kid can learn together. Paring up is a great way to keep yourself accountable. For aspiring rock gods, places like The Austin School of Music will have you riffing in no time. Get your improv on at the Hideout Theatre, which has classes for adults and kids. With swimming lessons, horseback riding, tennis instruction or any number of family-friendly activities available, your only excuse for not improving is your own laziness. Even then, there’s probably a class on overcoming that, too.