This Is How We Start The New Year!

Happy New Year! We hope it was a wonderful holiday season and that you are feeling excited about the year ahead. The Connections Academics team has been planning for another great year, and we are excited to launch a new blog series today! At the beginning of every month, you can be looking for a blog post entitled, This Is How We _____.

Each family has routines and roles that work well, but we also have routines and roles that drive us crazy. Sometimes it is helpful to know how other families are doing the day-to-day stuff. What ideas can we snag from parents that have found success? How are other families planning and celebrating and surviving the ups and downs of life? Throughout 2019 we will talk to families all around Cincinnati to find out how routines, celebrations, and responsibilities play out in their homes. We will talk about morning routines, homework, summer reading, college visits, and more!

Today we are hearing from two families about how they start the new year.

Meet Janet

Janet is a mom of three - a 6th grade daughter, 3rd grade daughter, and preschool aged son.

How did your family ring in the new year? Do you have New Year's Eve or New Year's Day traditions?

It has become our tradition to celebrate Christmas on New Year’s Eve with my parents. They come in to town from Illinois. My sisters come over, we open presents, have a big meal, and play a game in the evening. This year both our girls stayed up until midnight, and we watched the ball in New York City drop which was new and fun for them to see. It was very low key, but they seemed to enjoy it.

How do you bring back the order and routine of day-to-day life after the craziness of the holidays?

Since our family leaves right after the New Year, it is a quick transition back to daily life. If we have a day before school starts, we usually take a trip to the indoor pool and start taking down Christmas decorations.

What do you love about a new year and a fresh start?

As much as I enjoy the holidays, I look forward to the start of the new year as an “end of the holidays.” Taking down our holiday decorations and getting the house back in order after hosting family events feels really good. It is one of the few times a year the whole house gets a good vacuuming.

What do you loath about a new year and a fresh start?

As a mom, I dread waking my kids up for school when they don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t look forward to setting my own alarm, making lunches and rushing the kids to brush their teeth and pack up for the day.  

What changes is your family making to reset and prepare for another semester of school?

At the end of last semester our oldest daughter was struggling in her 6th grade Social Studies class. We met with the teacher to make sure she was understanding the flow of the class and getting the information she needed. It ended up being a great session where the teacher encouraged our daughter and helped boost her confidence. I am hoping to see positive results in both her grade and in her confidence this semester. I was happy to show my daughter that a short face-to-face conversation can help us understand one another better.

What goals did you and your family make for 2019?

My goal as a mom for our family is to get my kids to eat healthier, but that has been my goal for years. Hopefully, this is our year to make it happen!

Meet Molly

Molly is also a mom of three. Her daughter is a senior, her son is a sophomore, and she also has a three year daughter.

How did your family ring in the new year? Do you have any New Year's Eve or New Year's Day traditions?  

We always try to stay home or go to a friend's house to celebrate New Year Eve's because we are always concerned about safety on the roads. Now that one teenager is driving and the other is merely weeks away from being licensed, we are even keen on this. This year we asked our son if he wanted to have some friends over to our house. He invited about 5 friends over, and they made different recipes, played video games, and ordered pizza. We are happy his friends like being with us, and they commented that their other options would likely have involved driving and/or some drinking and driving temptations. I'm hoping we can keep this going.   

For New Year's Day, we almost always take a hike or go for a long walk as a family. I personally hate the day because it feels long and everyone seems down, so getting out to get some fresh air is part of our routine.  

How do you bring back the order and routine of day-to-day life after the craziness of the holidays?  

I wish I could say we gradually start having the kids go to bed earlier before the school break ends but with two teenagers, this is difficult, if not impossible. There are a rough mornings with lots of gripes and exhaustion, but each day gets a bit easier.

What do you love about a new year and a fresh start?

As a parent, I love a fresh start and equally feel like there is often too much pressure to completely transform your entire life too quickly. Therefore "resolutions" often are unsuccessful because they are too overwhelming. Nevertheless, we do try to revamp our routines to make them more productive, from eating to shopping to goal setting. I love when everyone is back into their routines of school, sports practice, work, etc.   

What changes are you and your family making to reset and prepare for another semester of school?  

We are big family dinner people. We realize that this 10-20 minute period together in the evening provides some grounding and a great opportunity to check in on all fronts. For the teenagers, even though they likely will not admit it, I believe it provides some comfort. For our little one, we are hoping it creates a foundation of family that in a few years will not be present anymore.

What goals did you and your family make for 2019?

Our biggest goal for the new year is to take a family vacation. It sounds pretty boring, but last year we did not travel, and we really missed our typical week together in North Carolina. I did not realize how important this time away was for all of our psyches.  

Other goals involve college decision deadlines for my oldest and her traveling with a friend overseas, my son getting his license (I declared this his goal), and the youngest lady learning to put away her toys at home and using her words to communicate better. My husband and I hope to have an actual date together at least once per month where we just have fun.

Happy 2019! We’re looking forward to another great year!


Written by Joy Becker, Mentoring Coordinator and Author of 44 & Oxford