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Family Resolutions: Commitment

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What is your family committed to? Do you work together to accomplish what you need to accomplish each day, each week, or over the course of the year; or do you feel like you’re running around by yourself, barking orders and never quite getting on top of your regular tasks? Do you have something that you would love to accomplish in 2014, but can’t quite get to because of the endless array of tasks that must be completed each day?

Consider making that part of your family’s resolution this year. The new year is on you: a time of change, of recommitment, of digging in and getting done all of those things that have been allowed to drift away over the course of the past year—but you can’t do it alone.

Maybe you want to finish a project that has been on your to do list for a long time. Maybe you want to streamline your homeschooling process. Maybe you just want to see the house actually get cleaned up once a week! Whatever the case, you’ll be much more likely to have a successful year if you get your family involved.

Set out a plan ahead of time. Saying, “I want to streamline our homeschooling process,” is easy. Setting out a plan to accomplish it is harder, and takes more effort and preparation. Sit down with your kids ahead of time and make a plan that all of you can live with. For example, you might commit to starting earlier each morning, or to taking half an hour each evening to get together everything that you will need for the following day.

Be sure everyone knows what they need to do. In order for your plan to be effective, everyone needs to know their role. If it’s your son’s job to make sure that all of the pens and pencils are picked up every day so that they can be found, then your daughter doesn’t need to do it for him—and conversely, if it’s her job to find the reference books you’ll need for the next day, it will often hinder, rather than help, if he’s running around digging through shelves at the same time.

Compromise. It’s entirely possible that your children do not want to commit to working harder. Perhaps they want shorter homeschooling days (which working harder, earlier, will give them), or they want to focus more on subjects that they enjoy (which getting through the subjects they don’t enjoy will also get them). Take their desires into consideration—because if you don’t, you’ll just be dragging them along.

Make sure they understand what’s in it for them. Perhaps this is a rewards and punishments system that you set up, or perhaps it’s more general. A mom who has a few minutes to herself each day is a happier mom overall. A mom who doesn’t always have to look at a mess is much more likely to agree to fun activities. Make sure that they understand this up front—and then make sure that you deliver.

Set up early rewards. January is always a hard time of year. The fun and frolic of Christmas is over, and it feels like summer is an eternity away, especially when they’re staring out at grey skies and desperately wishing that they could go back to the holidays again. Give them something to look forward to, and early rewards and incentives for following through with their resolution.

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