The December days have whizzed by, and we’re now just days away from Christmas and the New Year. As the curtain closes on 2016, many of us will be looking forward to 2017 and starting to make plans. If you’re a parent, here are some resolutions you may consider making in the months ahead.
Finding a better work-life balance
We’ve all been there. You’re working too much, you’ve missed the kids’ bedtime, and you feel horrendous. It’s normal to have days when things don’t quite go to plan, and you end up working a little later than normal. But if work is taking over your life, it’s time to take stock of what matters and try and find a better balance. As a parent, every moment matters, especially in the formative years. Before you know it, a newborn is running around, and you’ve missed out on those precious milestones. It can be incredibly difficult to juggle working and parenting, but there are steps you can to try and ensure you enjoy the best of both worlds. Manage your time effectively, by keeping to a schedule, and making time for family commitments. If you’re working overtime on a regular basis without reward or recognition, talk to your boss. Take advantage of annual leave and holiday. Make the most of the time you have off. Plan a day out, or treat the family to a spontaneous getaway. If you’re wasting hours commuting every day, investigate the possibility of working from home one or two days a week.
Finding a healthy balance is not just about working out how to combine work and parenthood. You also need to enjoy time to yourselves. It’s wonderful to spend time with your children, but everyone needs time out now and again. Try and fit in a day or night out every week or even once a month. Ask close friends and family to babysit, and make the most of the time you have together as a couple. You could go to the cinema, have a meal out, or even just chill out with a DVD and a takeaway at home.
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Getting your finances in order
The start of the year is an excellent time to get your finances in order. We all tend to blow the budget in December, so now is the time to plan ahead, and work out how to get back on track in 2017. One of the best resolutions you can make is to stick to a budget every month. If you don’t already do this, it will help you get a handle on spending and prevent unexpected shortfalls. At the beginning of every month, take an hour or so to sit down and work out what’s coming in, and what’s going out. Start with your salary and any other payments you expect to be credited to your account. Then note down your outgoings. This should include regular bills, rent or mortgage payments and instalments for credit cards and unsecured loans. Once you’ve recorded frequent payments, add anything else you’re expecting to cover in the month ahead. This may include one-off payments for birthday gifts, social outings or a holiday, for example. When you’ve got two columns, work out the difference, and this will give you an idea of what you have available. When you budget, you can also increase your chances of boosting your savings. If you have money left over every month, set up a direct debit to your savings account.
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Health is important for all of us. A brand new year is the ideal time to instil good habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Encourage physical activity, and stick to a healthy eating plan. Sometimes, we assume that healthy meals are expensive and tasteless. But this isn’t true. There are so many incredible recipes out there, which are also simple and cheap. If you cook at home, you’ll find that you save a lot of money compared to buying takeaways and ready meals, especially if you try batch cooking. Take a couple of hours at the weekend to cook large volumes of dishes like soups and casseroles. Freeze individual portions, and you can then defrost them later in the week. This makes planning simple, and it’ll save you time and effort after a busy day at work. If you’re not a confident cook, follow recipes in books or search for easy meals online. You may be surprised at just how simple it is to produce nutritious, delicious meals everyone will love.
Try and make it your mission to get moving in 2017. If you tend to spend your time watching films or the kids love to play computer games or watch YouTube videos, try and adopt a more active lifestyle. Go to the park for a kick around, or make use of your garden. Go for family walks or bike rides or swap the sofa for an indoor adventure playground or a trip to the local swimming pool. If your children’s school is just around the corner, leave the car at home and walk or cycle to school. Even minor changes can make a difference to your health.
It’s the end of another year and what better way to prepare for the arrival of 2017 by making some parent-friendly resolutions? We all know that life as a parent can be hectic, and it’s increasingly difficult to juggle working and looking after children. As a parent, you want to be able to provide for your family, but you don’t want it to come at a cost. You want to be there for those precious moments and watch your children grow and develop. If you’re working too hard, and you feel like you’re missing out, try and identify solutions. Perhaps you could try working from home to save time on commuting, or you could consider switching to a job with more sociable hours. Nobody wants to start the year worrying about money, so make it your aim to get on top of your finances as early as possible. Draw up a monthly budget, and try your best to stick to it. Some months may be more expensive than others, and a budget will help you plan in advance. A new year is also a glorious opportunity to make changes to your lifestyle and improve your family’s health. It’s never too early to encourage good habits. Make an effort to cook healthy meals, and get moving as a family. You’ll be able to spend quality time together and have fun, as well as enjoying important health benefits.