As the first full week back at school (maybe not even a full week thanks to weather) finishes up, I am still trying to clean up from the holidays, to adjust to the winter schedule, and to think about the year ahead. A tall order for most parents (for everyone really!) when we still need to manage the day-to-day household activities/workloads/caregiving/pets, the list goes on. I am not a believer in new year’s resolutions – this Scholastic article does contain useful tips for setting resolutions with kids. Instead of resolutions, I offer these two ideas as easy ways to help parents start the new year with a “positive mental attitude” or a “PMA,” to borrow an acronym I learned from my daughter’s elementary school. 

To close out 2018, for the week leading up to vacation, my daughter had a “positivity partner.” Each day they left a small gift and a nice note with a positive message. There was no expectation that the gift cost money – it could be treats, a drawing, a craft, something from home. But, in the end, it was the notes that mattered. What a lovely gift to be given an anonymous message each day that highlights your successes and your best attributes. Imagine our world if we were more practiced at pointing out what goodness people brought to that moment.* I’m trying hard to carry this practice into the new year.

Secondly, I signed up for the 30-day challenge with the New York Times. I am slightly embarrassed to admit it here, but I was drawn to the idea of an easy daily task that adds a burst of novelty. To start, you write yourself a letter about why you are participating and/or what you hope to gain. Each day’s task focuses on one of four tenets – move, connect, nourish, or refresh. It is only Day 4, but it feels great to read an email, act on it, and mark the task done all within minutes, and to carry the ideas into the rest of the day. They have been fun to share with my daughter too, either as a shared activity or as a reflection.

Happy new year from CLiF! We’d love to know how you and your family mark the new year.

*Another lesson to take from kids is letting go of mistakes. My daughter had her teacher has a positivity partner – she gave her the fish image (main article image) with positive spelled incorrectly, and she did not worry, because she loved the way the fish looked.

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