Relax, Reflect, Breathe and Make Resolutions for 2022

The year 2021 has been an outrageous time for all of us. Families with young children have learned about distance learning and daily screenings for COVID symptoms, and employers seek out candidates to work, all while living through a pandemic.

By Anne E. Mead, Ed. D

The year 2021 has been an outrageous time for all of us. Families with young children have learned about distance learning and daily screenings for COVID symptoms, and employers seek out candidates to work, all while living through a pandemic. Now, it is the time for some relaxation and reflection of the good that has happened and how we can breathe and make resolutions for 2022.  

During the past year, everyone has had the opportunity to learn new skills in the areas of electronics, social media awareness, and finding activities that keep families in their own bubble. Now, it is the time to make new resolutions for our families. Likewise, it is a time to relax and breathe as we face the unknown that 2022 may bring us. Being prepared and ready to take on any challenges while focused on our goals and resolutions will benefit us all.  

Involve your family in setting some New Year’s resolutions, with the goal of building healthy habits together. Suggestions include eating fewer fast foods, increasing the number of fresh fruits and vegetables in snacks, and eating dinner or breakfast together as a family four or five days a week. For older children, suggestions include limiting the amount of time spent on social media or playing video games, replaced by walking or running 3 or 4 times a week. Aim for a couple of times when the entire family plays a board game or active indoor game, or ventures outside to build a family snowman and village. Younger children can be tasked with putting their toys away, cleaning up the playroom by sorting toys into like-colored bins, or trying new and different foods on their plates. A reward chart is a great way to help children see their progress toward their goals.  

I have heard many families ask what they can do to help build their child’s social/emotional growth as the pandemic has taken a toll on the ability of children and parents alike to control themselves. Resolutions may include allowing more time for unstructured activities, to prevent over-stimulation. Try taking breaks to do some deep breathing for 3 or 4 minutes and give yourselves the grace to take the time you need to process a problem/situation without overreacting.  

Setting high expectations with clear directions and having a few non-negotiable rules helps children and others around them understand what is expected of each person. The ground rules can be as simple as, “Do no harm to yourself, do no harm to others, and do no harm to anything around you.” The ground rules offer families the ability to further extend them to mean “no harmful words to your peers,” “hands to yourself,” or “no throwing toys that might break.” Children don’t necessarily understand a lot of rules at one time, so the basic three are very helpful and apply to many situations.  

As 2021 draws to a close, I wish every family health and happiness for the New Year and may the suggestions above help your family to relax, reflect, and breathe towards new resolutions for 2022.  

Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or meadan@danbury.k12.