Family goals for a new year in Barcelona | Santa Clara

Family goals for a new year in Barcelona

Family goals for a new year in Barcelona

It’s that time of year again, when many people indulge in reflection and reevaluate some of their life choices. This is also a great chance to model for your kids how to decide what aspects of your life you want to improve and how to take action, and what things you want to prioritise in the coming year.

Instead of making individual, generic New Year’s resolutions (we all need to work out more, there’s no need to put that in writing), try setting goals that you can achieve as a family. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

More frequent family dinners

Family goals for a new year in Barcelona-family dinnersMealtime can be magical. In an industrialised age where most of us don’t farm together, nor do we patch ripped pants on the porch and hang clean laundry on the line side by side, dinner has become one of the only reliable ways for families to connect and enquire about each others’ lives.

Family dinners are also a great opportunity for parents to introduce children to different foods and expand their palates. A 2000 survey led by Matthew W. Gillman, MD, researcher and the director of the Obesity Prevention Program at the Harvard Medical School, found that 9 to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families typically ate more fruits and vegetables, getting more of the vitamins and minerals their bodies need, and consumed less soft drinks and fried foods.

Some researchers believe that dinnertime conversation boosts the vocabulary of young children even more than if you read aloud to them, and it doesn’t take a scientific experiment to discern how frequent family dinners can lower a host of high-risk teenage behaviours such as smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, violence, school problems, eating disorders and premature sexual activity. Even if you hate to cook, make the effort for your children. After all, it’s the food that draws everyone to the table but the stories, laughter and games that keep us there.

If you’re interested in the research behind the benefits of family dinners, Dr. Anne K. Fishel’s Food for Thought blog is a great place to start.

Device-free zones

Family goals for a new year in Barcelona-device-free zonesDesignate device and gadget-free zones in your house, car, at the dinner table, etc. in order to create opportunities to talk. No matter how good of a parent you are, all kids go through phases where they would rather talk to a lamppost in the rain than share even the smallest detail about their lives with you. And yet, when your youngsters find themselves in a space that you have agreed upon as a family will be a ‘device-free zone’, there’s nothing else to really do but open up.

The topic of conversation doesn’t always matter, however, when everyone isn’t distracted by their electronic devices, it’s amazing what subjects can spark a healthy debate or lead to a moment of real bonding.

The strict enforcement of device-free zones has become imperative for parents too. Consider your behaviour in the car. Does your radio automatically turn on when you start the engine? How often do you look at the road with one eye and your Whatsapp with the other? Have you ever thought about NOT answering a call when you’re driving with your kids?

We spoke with a foreign resident about her experiences in the car with her mom when she was growing up in the US: “My mom and I never stopped talking in the car. With a six-and-a-half-hour school day, followed by four hours of gymnastics practice five days a week, we had limited time to catch up otherwise. What really stands out in my mind, though, is that my mom never forced routine questions on me, like ‘How was your day?’ or ‘What did you learn today at school?’ Instead she asked specific questions about my friends and what happened during recess. We sang awesome (and unbeknownst to me, educational) songs together, played ‘I spy’ and conducted spelling bees. I learned so much from her during our commutes here and there. I could ask her any questions that came to mind, and she would answer to the best of her abilities—no Google search required.”

Record your life together

Family goals for a new year in Barcelona-keeping memoriesIt’s difficult for some of us to remember what we ate for breakfast, much less all of our inside jokes, minute details of our travels, what our kids wore on their first day of school, etc. In order to keep these memories from fading, dedicate some time to creating a family scrapbook or keep a family diary that everyone writes in, whatever works with your schedule and lifestyle. If it’s something quick and easy you’re looking for, simply stick a thought calendar to the fridge, with a different weekly question, and suggest everyone write down their answer when they’re waiting for a pot of water to boil or bread to toast.

As the saying goes, “The best things in life are the people you love, the places you go and the memories you make.” This new year’s goal wraps all of those up into a beautiful, rewarding package.

Check out these 5 family scrapbook ideas to inspire you.

Free museum Sundays

Family goals for a new year in Barcelona-free museum SundaysDid you know that many of Barcelona’s top museums are free the first Sunday of every month, or every Sunday afternoon? It’s a wonderful gift for the city’s residents that you should start taking advantage of immediately. Plus this plan works for any season!

Here are our top picks for where to go this Sunday:

1. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). Parc de Montjuïc.

This majestic building dating back to the 1929 World’s Fair houses the world’s largest collection of Roman frescoes, carefully removed from 29 major Romanesque churches in the Pyrenees to save them from being destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.

Admission is free every Saturday from 3pm, and on the first Sunday of every month.

2. Museu Marítim de Barcelona. Av. de les Drassanes.

Located inside the Drassanes Reials de Barcelona (Barcelona Royal Shipyard)—one of the most perfectly preserved examples of civil Gothic architecture in Spain—this museum shows how shipbuilding and navigation techniques have developed over the years.

Admission is free every Sunday from 3pm.

3. Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA). Plaça del Rei.

Stretching from Plaça del Rei to the cathedral are some 4,000 square metres of subterranean Roman excavations. The ancient streets, villas and storage vats for oil and wine, all discovered by accident in the late 1920s, will delight both young and old. Access this underground labyrinth via the Casa Padellàs, a merchant’s palace dating from 1498, which was laboriously moved from its original location in Carrer dels Mercaders to allow the construction of Via Laietana.

Admission is free every Sunday from 3pm, and the first Sunday of every month all day.

4. Jardí Botànic de Barcelona. Doctor Font i Quer 2.

With the aim of conserving and disseminating collections of Mediterranean plants from around the world, the Barcelona Botanical Garden offers visitors a peaceful walk away from the noise of the centre, which changes with each new season. Must-sees throughout the garden are the spiky banksia, the vivid oranges of the cape aloe and the stone pine, which produces edible pine seeds.

Admission is free every Sunday from 3pm, and the first Sunday of every month all day.

5. Museu Picasso. Montcada 15-23.

By no means an overview of the artist’s work, the Museu Picasso is rather a record of the key formative years that the young Picasso spent nearby at La Llotja art school (where his father taught), and later hanging out with Catalunya’s avant-garde during the late 19th century.

Admission is free every Sunday from 3pm to 7pm, and the first Sunday of every month all day.

Volunteer together

Family goals for a new year in Barcelona-VolunteeringEven if it’s a single charitable activity a month, volunteering as a family teaches your children how to be compassionate and have empathy. You can do random small acts here and there, or commit to a specific charity for the whole year. Helping others isn’t always about raising money for them—although using your creativity and inventiveness to do so could be fun—it’s also about being present. Show up to lend a hand.

In Barcelona there are plenty of ways to give back to your community. See the article Barcelona needs you for four places to contact that are always looking for volunteers.

Establish your own family goals, or set some like these, and make the most of the coming year in Barcelona.