You can im­prove your life in 2016

Sick of hol­low new year’s res­o­lu­tions, and de­ter­mined to change things? S’them­bile Cele asks the ex­perts how

CityPress - - News -

As each year goes by faster than the last, many par­ents are un­pre­pared for how much time their chil­dren need from them. Par­ent­ing ex­pert Nikki Bush says to make the time you have with your chil­dren count, make eye con­tact with them and really lis­ten when they speak.

“Make a date with your child, whether you go out for a burger or milk­shake or whether you play to­gether at home. Diarise a set time and stick to it,” she says, adding that you need to “un­plug” dur­ing your “date” and switch off cell­phones and com­put­ers – even lock them away.

“Play games to­gether, such as sim­ple card and dice games, or do a fun ac­tiv­ity, like tak­ing a swim to­gether or a walk to the park. Even ly­ing on the grass watch­ing the clouds counts as qual­ity time.

“To­day, there is a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren who are des­per­ate for a sense of be­long­ing and to­geth­er­ness. So no mat­ter how much or how lit­tle time you have with them, make your pres­ence felt and make it count,” she says.

On the ro­mance front, clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Khosi Jiyane says suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships need work. “Start the new year know­ing that re­la­tion­ships are never fi­nal but an on­go­ing work in progress,” she says. “Your part­ner is a guest in your life, and could leave.

“The most im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship is the one you have with your­self. It has to be nur­tured for you to enjoy suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers.” Per­sonal fi­nance ex­pert Maya Fisher-French says this is the year to take con­trol and stop play­ing the vic­tim when it comes to man­ag­ing your money. “If you keep track of it, you can con­trol it,” she says. “The key is to take own­er­ship.”

This is eas­ier said than done, es­pe­cially dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, when you want to pay for your friends’ last round of drinks.

But there are a few se­crets you will find use­ful in saving a couple of Ran­de­las. This has to do with bud­get­ing, set­ting fi­nan­cial goals and deal­ing with debt.

“If you are in debt, start get­ting rid of one store card at a time. Sort out the pay­ment on one first, then tackle the next. You won’t solve all your prob­lems in one day, but you can tackle one debt at a time,” says Fisher-French.

“Also, take out a sav­ings plan for your­self or for your child’s ed­u­ca­tion. Re­view your house and car in­sur­ance rates. Rates have been com­ing down and it is likely you are pay­ing too much.

“Look at how much you spend in bank­ing fees; how can you re­duce them or do away with some al­to­gether?”

Fisher-French says that once you own your fi­nances, you will see re­sults within three months. “The key is to know how much you get, how much you spend and where you spend it. Write it down. Some ex­pen­di­ture will be cringe­wor­thy, but bite the bul­let. Find out where your money is and take con­trol.”

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