Dads, as we start the new year, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead. This is especially important when it comes to our relationships with our children and families, as these are the most important relationships in our lives. By taking the time to focus on our family relationships, we can create a strong foundation for the year ahead and set ourselves up for success in all areas of our lives.

Here are six ways to start the new year well with your children and family:

1. Set goals together

Involve your children in setting goals for the new year. This can be a fun and meaningful way to spend time together and get everyone on the same page. Encourage your children to think about what they want to achieve in the new year, whether it’s in school, sports, or other areas of their lives. Then, work together to come up with a plan to achieve those goals.

2. Spend quality time together

One of the most important things you can do to strengthen your family relationships is to spend quality time together. This means putting aside screens and other distractions and focusing on each other. It could be as simple as having dinner together every night, or it could be more elaborate, like planning a family vacation or outing. The key is to make time for each other and connect on a deeper level.

3. Communicate openly and honestly

Effective communication is key to any healthy relationship, and it’s especially important in our relationships with our children. Make an effort to listen to your children and really hear what they have to say. Encourage them to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas, and be open and honest with them in return. This will help you build trust and strengthen your bond.

4. Practice forgiveness

No one is perfect, and it’s inevitable that we’ll make mistakes or have conflicts in our relationships. When this happens, it’s important to practice forgiveness and move forward. Make an effort to apologize when you’ve wronged someone, and encourage your children to do the same. This will help build a culture of forgiveness and understanding in your family.

5. Show appreciation and gratitude

One of the simplest but most powerful things you can do to strengthen your family relationships is to show appreciation and gratitude. Take the time to thank your children and spouse for their contributions to the family, and express your appreciation for their unique qualities and talents. This will help create a positive and supportive atmosphere in your home.

6. Prioritize your family

As you set goals and make plans for the new year, be sure to prioritize your family. This might mean making an effort to spend more time together, or it might mean setting aside certain activities or commitments in order to focus on your family. Whatever it takes, make your family a top priority and put their needs first.

Since I became a dad I always wanted to see my kids doing well. I haven’t always been perfect, but what I’ve learned is that consistently applying these six actions has helped my children grow into beautiful people.  They’ve also helped me in the rest of my life. 

Dads, starting the new year well with your children and family requires effort and intentionality. By setting goals, spending quality time together, communicating openly and honestly, practicing forgiveness, showing appreciation and gratitude, and prioritizing your family, you can create a strong foundation for the year ahead and build lasting, meaningful relationships with your children and loved ones. That’s how I define my “best year.”

About The Author – Drew Soleyn

I’m the Director of Dad Central Ontario, Founder of Connected Dads, and a Career Coach at the Queen's Smith School of Business. As an ICF and Maxwell Leadership certified Coach, Trainer & Speaker, I help struggling dads show up at their best for the people who matter most.

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