New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously hard to keep. Parents already have enough on their plates without imposing even more restrictions or pointing out even more imperfections in their family life. This year, instead of saying “I will not eat sugar” or “I will not yell at my kids,” I am embracing even more things my family already loves to do. The resolutions will be the things I WANT to do this year, instead of focusing on the things I know I shouldn’t. This way there won’t be any broken promises, and my family can look forward to a year of endless possibilities instead of endless limitations. For example: If your family is going stir-crazy inside, go to a Teddy Bear tea party, see some Grammy-nominated music or laugh at a kid-friendly comedy show. But if it’s cold AF outside, stay in bed, let your kids clean the house, and indulge in that second piece of cake (or hot toddy).
Resolution #1: I will deep clean my house (the easy way)
I’m buying this classic baby mop ($29.99) for everyone I know that has a pre-crawling baby, and I will invite those babies (and parents over) for a sweep through. Babies are never too young to join in on the house chores. Which reminds me: this will also be the year that I start following this handy Montessori chore chart, and in January I’ll teach my child to (eek!) use the stove. To prepare myself, I’m reading How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap And Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims who reminds us that by middle school, kids need to be able to cut their own meat, and they need a lot of practice to get there.
Resolution #2: I will read to my children every day
The benefits of reading to your children every day are very well documented. Even when they are fluently reading chapter books alone, experts strongly recommend continuing to read aloud. To be a household that values literature means to always be reading. But for those times when we’d rather be lounging, I’ll embrace time together while we loaf on the couch watching movies. Even better, I’ll combine our favorite pastimes with the Little Bookworms movie series at Nitehawk Williamsburg, a weekend film series for kids based on classic tales. The schedule is as follows: January 6 & 7 the Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, January 13 & 14 80’s animated adventure The Secret of NIMH, January 27 & 28 Wes Anderson’s adorable Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’s a fantasy-filled month with great brunch options. $12 adult; $9 children. Nitehawk Williamsburg, 136 Metropolitan Ave. Williamsburg
Resolution #3: I will create more family memories
It’s so easy to get lost in the everyday minutia of homework, after school activities, and meal planning. But making time for special occasions is important too. Why not do something out of the ordinary with an old fashioned Teddy Bear Tea at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, a 1799 carriage house and one-time home of a Women’s Patriotic Society. On January 7th from 1pm to 3pm, go back in time for a typical day in the 1830’s. Make sure your child brings their teddy bear or doll, and prepare to indulge in fruit tea and cookies. $10 adults and children. Mount Vernon Hotel and Museum, 421 E. 61st Street, Upper East Side
Resolution #4: I will laugh more with my kids
Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time correcting, scolding and rushing that my child might not recognize me smiling. That’s why I love the idea of this family friendly comedy show. “Bring Ya Mamma” at The Village Lantern is billed as a clean stand up comedy show featuring comics from NYC’s top comedy clubs. On the 1st Sunday of each month comics Eugene and Paul host this show “with all jokes approved for ages 2 to 200.” It seems like a great way to introduce kids to the pleasures of the comedy world. The admission is free and a kid-friendly brunch is on the menu. And then maybe we’ll listen to Steven Wright’s classic stand-up album “I Have A Pony.” Sunday January 7th. Doors open at 2pm, and the show starts at 2:30pm. FREE. The Village Lantern Comedy Club, 167 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village
Resolution #5: I will celebrate diversity with my family
Drag Queen Story Hour has been a regular part of the Brooklyn read aloud scene for a while, but now they have a consistent time slot at Brooklyn Children’s Museum on the Second Saturday of every month until April. On January 13th, this interactive and storytime hour will introduce kids to “glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models” while enhancing literacy at the museum. It’s a way to celebrate uniqueness and diversity which is one of the main reasons most of us wish to raise families in Brooklyn. Free with $11 Museum Admission. Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights
Resolution #6: I will be more present with my kids
“The days are long, but the years are short” is an oft-repeated quote by Gretchen Rubin to describe parenthood. But I find just as often that the days go by in a flash as well. The Rubin Museum is presenting parents with a toolkit. Mindfulness for Families is a four-session series that explores the tenets of mindfulness and teaches how to apply them in everyday family interactions. January 14th from 11:00am-12pm Ayman Mukerji Househam, a mindfulness teacher and researcher, will lead families with children ages three to seven, through instruction and exercises in “Reconnecting to The Parent Body”. This is the second of the four sessions, and will focus on “responding versus reacting.” Families will learn to “rein in autopilot parenting tendencies and replace them with reasoned responses.” An adult ticket is $50, which includes the admission of one child. Additional children’s tickets are $10. The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th St., Chelsea
Resolution #7: I will go see more live music
The days of seeing live music don’t have to be over when you have children, but it does take more stamina to sit through a children’s concert. Just Kidding at Symphony Space does a great job at curating music that parents can groove to alongside their offspring. On Saturday, January 27th, at 11:00am, they will highlight the best children’s music of the year in a Best of Family Music Showcase featuring a line up of artists who have all been nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album. Gustafer Yellowgold, Lisa Loeb, Justin Roberts and Alphabet Rockers will perform in an epic event the day before the Grammys. Recommended for ages 2-7. Tickets: $20 and up. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, UWS
Resolution #8: I will use less plastic
Since becoming a parent, I have increased my carbon footprint exponentially. With disposable diapers, endless supplies of baby wipes, and an army of paper towels ready for the dankest mess, I feel like I’m not doing my part for the environment. In 2018, I’m going to cut down on plastic in the kitchen, which means packing metal silverware instead of plastic, refilling water bottles rather than buying plastic, and using Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags ($11.99), a healthy alternative to plastic storage bags and containers. They are safe for the freezer or microwave and I intend to use them for leftovers, storage and for travel snacks. Plus, they can just be washed on the top shelf of the dishwasher. Huzzah!
Resolution #9: I will walk over the Brooklyn Bridge with the whole family
Living at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, we marvel weekly over its magnificence. On our way to Dumbo, we walk past the entrance full of tourists stumbling over from Manhattan. Yet, I realized my son has never actually walked the bridge. This will be the year! Also, I’ll sign up for the Family Day at the Center For Architecture on January 6th, whose theme this month is “Building Bridges.” Families will learn about different bridges, how they work and will then design and construct their own bridge to bring home. There are two sessions: Morning (11am-1pm) and Afternoon (2pm-4pm.) Admission is $6 adult, $12 child. Appropriate for ages 5-13. Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl., Greenwich Village
Resolution #10: I will feel free to break all these resolutions!