5 Things for Families

While Richmond events are stuck on repeat or on holiday break, this week’s Five Things for Families focuses on local resources you can use to help you and yours get to work on the most common resolutions.

While Richmond events are stuck on repeat or on holiday break, this week’s Five Things for Families focuses on local resources you can use to help you and yours get to work on the most common resolutions.1

1. Exercise more

It’s easy to find affordable ways to stay active and pump those limbs in an outdoor city (especially when we live in the Best River Town in America). James River Parks offer pedestrian and bike trails–including a bike skills course on Belle Island, rock climbing, rock hopping, and other river-based activities.

Add more movement to your family routine with extra visits to a City of Richmond Park. Take a walk, explore nature, play tennis or basketball, or just run your kids around like they’re dogs playing fetch.

For more organized athletics, get some running practice in just in time for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k on March 29, which starts right after a one-mile kids run for ages 5 through 12. Sports Center of Richmond has baseball and soccer leagues for kids (soccer starts for as young as 18-month-olds) and teams for adults. Winter sessions have already begun, but registration is open at a prorated cost.

2. Volunteer More

Martin Luther King, Jr. day (January 20th) is a national day of service, and with schools closed, it’s an excellent opportunity to volunteer with your family. Find volunteer events through the MLK Day website.

For everyday events, HandsOn Greater Richmond matches individuals and groups with ways to give back. Your employer might offer paid leave for volunteering, or also might have employee-events that you can bring children to. Organizations that support the community, such as the Central Virginia Food Bank, can always use a few extra hands of any size and skill.

3. Save Money

It is never too early for children to learn the importance of money, and that the jingle of coins into a piggy bank is one of the prettiest and best sounds. Keep everyone in the household accountable by having a similar goal to save for (like a summer vacation or new TV). Help your kids make better financial choices (“Would you rather use your money to buy this now, or save the money and put it toward a new jet ski?” — or whatever it is that older kids are into).

Check with your local bank or credit union and libraries for financial seminars that the entire family can benefit from.

Try one of my favorite money-saving tips: whenever you have a $5 bill, put that aside. Save those $5 bills and use that money for something fun, like a night out—or you could put it toward a new jet ski.

4. Eat better/cook more

My daughter loves to cook with me. It has not, as experts have suggested, made her more interested in eating anything that isn’t a scrambled egg, but it’s a fun activity and I would rather have her in my way making a mess while assisting with my cooking than in the streets playing that knockout game. If cooking better and more is a goal for you, get the whole family in the kitchen.

Good Foods Grocery and the Community Room at Ellwood Thompson often offer cooking and nutrition courses. Get more involved instruction for kids at the Young Chefs Academy of Richmond and Sur La Table in Stony Point.

Work on a vegetable garden together (which, again, has excited my daughter 0% vegetable-wise, but 100% worm- and dirt-wise). Start with container gardening if you’re a novice. Use your buddies at a local farmers market to provide you with plant seedlings to grow your own fruits and vegetables. With any luck, you’ll put a family farm out of business by making a family farm of your own (OK, this is not likely, but gardening is fun and sometimes rewarding).

5. Get in on that “saving the earth” thing

Being good to the environment is a team effort and involves more than buying Seventh Generation dish soap when its on clearance at Target. Make Earth Day every day: check out resources available from the EPA; become a James River Hero to help improve water quality; and use that recycling bin if you aren’t already. Once they know the deal, little kids are the best advocates for recycling and conservation. I recycle faithfully because it’s the right thing to do, it was something I was passionate about as a small child, and because I’m still afraid my older sister will yell at me if I don’t.

Happy New Year–and thanks for reading.

Photo by: Greg_e

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  1. According to usa.gov (and they should know). 
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Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

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