New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for adults! The start of the new year is a great time for parents to encourage children to talk about their feelings and set goals for the upcoming year. Parents can use this reflective time to celebrate all that their child has accomplished over the past year and help them think about how to build on those achievements in the new year. These conversations allow children to learn about the value of making goals.
Creating resolutions isn’t meant to give children another chore. It’s an opportunity to encourage a child’s healthy habits and help them understand they have an active role in their well-being. Working together to create resolutions promotes family time and encourages a family’s mental and physical well-being. Consider these tips:
- Take time to let each family member share something they are proud of and something they personally want to work on.
- Try to limit the number of resolutions so they feel achievable and more meaningful.
- Take into account your child’s age. Resolutions for a preschooler might be focused on cleaning up toys, brushing teeth and being kind to their friends. School-aged children can be more active in selecting their own goals. Resolutions for this age range may focus on telling an adult about any bullying they see at school or promising to always wear a bike helmet.
- Work with each child to identify their areas for personal growth. If she’s having trouble reading, consider making it a goal to read 10 minutes every day. If he struggles to keep his room clean, try resolving to spend five minutes cleaning a few times a week.
- Consider making both individual and family resolutions, such as spending more quality family time together or committing to more volunteer activities.
- Kids learn by example, so be sure to set your own resolutions. Create ways you can include your child in your resolution, ie: “I’m going to turn off my cell phone when I get home. Can you remind me and put away your electronics until after dinner too?” or “I’d like to exercise three times a week, and I’m hoping you’ll sometimes join me by taking a jog around the block.”
- Re-visit the resolutions throughout the year and celebrate accomplishments together. Use check-ins to remind your children that their thoughts, feelings and goals are important to you.
Regardless of your child’s age, encourage them to resolve to talk to a parent or other trusted adult whenever they feel scared, lonely, stressed or confused.
Want more tips on how to create kid-friendly resolutions? Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics list of resolutions for kids of all ages, from preschoolers to teenagers: : https://healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Healthy-New-Years-Resolutions-for-Kids.aspx