We finally made it through the holidays and it’s already the second week of January. Many people like to think of a new year as a fresh start. Some set New Year’s resolutions, some make new goals for the new year. One of the things I recommend to parents is setting aside a day or even a weekend in the new year to plan and prioritize what they want for their family this year. Here’s an example of how that might look:

  • Take a weekend away with your spouse (no kids allowed) to plan how you want 2017 to unfold for your family
  • If you can’t take an entire weekend, try to get away overnight, with a full day to spend together and lots of free time
  • Go to a hotel, resort, or a friend’s cabin or lake house. If money is tight, ask a grandparent to keep the children at their house and have your get away in your own home.
  • You need time away from your children to keep your marriage fresh, to maintain good communication skills and to revisit what is going on with each of your kids. As their ages change, what they need and require from you as parents will change. Getting away to plan together allows you to reassess and restart if necessary.
  • Single parents need to get away too! Find another single parent friend and get together to brainstorm parenting ideas, what works and doesn’t work, and possible things you could do differently.  Parenting alone is tough, but you can still be intentional about what you are doing with your kids.
  • Before you go, decide on the topics you want to discuss. Possible topics include children’s schedules, chores, extracurricular activities, discipline, vacation ideas and major upcoming decisions.

The first time my husband Will and I did this, I’ll admit, it was a lot of work. We didn’t really have much of anything in place but knew we wanted to start a system for chores, allowances, and financial education. Our girls were 3, 5 and 7 at this time. We spent the better part of a weekend drawing up a plan that felt feasible and sustainable. We also had some lovely dinners out and a bit of a romantic weekend thrown in for fun.

Will you make time in your schedule to go away for a weekend and make some plans for your family in 2017? I promise that if you don’t, 2017 will play out as usual, and it will be 2018 before you know it. Next week I’ll give some details about the system we initially put in place years ago with our girls. Until then, Happy New Year! Schedule your planning weekend this week.

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