a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Jan, 2014

New Year’s resolutions… with kids

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you

Last sunset of 2013!

Happy New Year! We had a fairly lazy New Year’s Eve here at Casa Fishbowl. For dinner we ate a whole bunch of appetizers (pizza bites, bacon-wrapped scallops, coconut chicken lollipops, veggies and dip), and then we caught Catching Fire at the Coliseum. When we got home we played video games (giving the WiiU a solid workout) and rang in the New Year with bubbly 7-up in fancy glasses. :)

I really like the idea of making New Year’s resolutions as a family. It’s a great opportunity to come together and tackle new challenges. I think it could be a really healthy activity, one that strengthens family ties in a new and interesting way.

This year we are doing the 52-week money saving challenge. I really like the idea of doing something that involves (a) a lesson in saving money and (b) a really great pay off at the end of it. And although we’re not calling it a resolution per se, we’ve also challenged ourselves to explore new cross-country ski trails around Ottawa this winter. I just hope it warms up a little at some point.

Some other things you can do as a family, if you’re keen:

  • How about making a resolution to do to a “Focused 15,” in which every night after dinner the family comes together to do a 15-minute tidy. It’s amazing how much of a difference this will make in your lives.
  • Speaking of chores, you can make a resolution to tackle them in a more organized way with a chore jar. (This is what we do, and it is great.)
  • What about a fitness-related challenge? A weekly family skate or swim, or an evening walk with the dog?
  • What about a creative challenge? A photo-a-day project, or a family gratitude journal? I love the idea of starting a happiness jar on January 1. Start with an empty jar, and fill it up with happy moments written on slips of paper as the year goes on. Then read them all out loud at the end of the year. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you’d have if you did this for a year, and how fun it would be at the end.
  • What about a family reading challenge? This could be about reading a set amount of chapter books together, or maybe starting a book club?
  • What about a charitable challenge? A regular donation, or a volunteering job you can do together could make a world of difference to your family, and to others as well.
  • What about a tech-related resolution? No texting at the dinner table, no iPods in the bathroom. Now’s the chance to do it!

Do you make family resolutions? I would love to hear about them if you do!

7 Responses to "New Year’s resolutions… with kids"

1 | Sarah (@sarahjanesroom)

January 1st, 2014 at 12:15 pm


Love all of these ideas, Andrea! Charitable work/donations is definitely something that we will be spending more focused time on this year as a family.

Last night we asked the kids to think of something they want to learn more about this year, or get better at, and the 7yo said she wants to “learn more about math” and the 4yo was holding a cookbook at the time and said that she wants to “learn how to bake more”. So, that’s what we’ll work on this year, at least to start with.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

2 | FR Dean

January 1st, 2014 at 1:22 pm


I love the book club idea. I don’t really have a family per se, but I’d love to start one with my closest friends. Thanks for the suggestions and of course happy 2014!!

3 | Anita Grace

January 1st, 2014 at 6:35 pm


My 4 yo is joining me on a year of giving – a gift each day for 365 days. Her contributions – i.e. cards, drawings, crafts – will count as daily gifts. She is quite keen about it and excited to start.

4 | andrea tomkins

January 2nd, 2014 at 3:50 pm


Sarah – I really like the idea of asking kids what they’d like to get better at this year. It’s a wonderful way of starting the discussion anyway!

FR Dean – Thank you! Happy 2014 to you too!

Anita – what a wonderful project. I read about it on your blog and I think you’re both going to benefit greatly from it!

5 | Fatima

January 3rd, 2014 at 9:55 am


We are all going to be flossing our teeth. Even though we are older (all either in University or the workforce), it is fun to have a family “resolution” and it adds motivation, when you are so tired and heading to bed and want to just close your eyes.

6 | A bit about resolutions, and taking care of ourselves >> a peek inside the fishbowl

November 21st, 2014 at 10:55 am


[…] for once, I was actually able to keep them this year. (Well, all except for the one I wrote about here. The 52-week jar was a bit of a bust. Mostly because we were dipping into the well to fund things […]

7 | Celebrating New Year’s with kids in Ottawa >> a peek inside the fishbowl

December 29th, 2014 at 9:28 am


[…] The next day we’ll take down the Christmas tree. Maybe we’ll go for a walk in the woods and bring gifts for the birds. Perhaps we’ll make a new family resolution too. (Here’s last year’s post about it.) […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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