You can make news years resolutions for yourself (I resolve to take fewer bites of the kids meals and stop pretending those calories don’t count) and you can make some for your children (I resolve to take my kids to park every week), but don’t forget you can make new years resolutions with your children.
Set aside time to work out some resolutions together
Sit down with your kids and have a chat about what it means to make a New Year’s resolution and share some of your own from this year or the past. Encourage children to begin thinking about the general things they and others might set as resolution.
If you have areas of concern use this opportunity to guide your children
For example, if your 2 year old seems to lack manners you might discuss with them the possibility of resolving to say “please” and “thankyou” more often, if you feel your 10 year old plays too many computer games suggest they make a resolution involving sport or craft.
But – Allow children to feel empowered by their resolutions.
If it ends up feeling like just another day being told what to do, the power of the resolution will be lost. Better they make a wishy-washy resolution but follow through and experience the satisfaction of setting and achieving goals, than give up quickly on a more ambitious resolution of which they didn’t feel ownership.
Be a role model.
Tell your children your own resolutions (the ones that are fit for children to hear!). Share why you feel this is an area of your life you’d like to improve and how you plan to achieve your goal. This not only helps your children learn how to make and keep resolutions, but will help clarify it for you, too! Whenever you’re tempted to give up on your own resolutions remember that your children are striving to keep their own and are watching you 🙂
Set some family resolutions.
Work together to come up with one or more New Year’s Resolutions that apply to the whole family. Maybe to eat dinner at the table together, to share one positive story together every day, to go on a family outing each week…
Write down everyone’s resolutions and display them.
This can be a simple list or a fun craft activity. Just the act of writing things down makes you much more likely to follow through, so does seeing your resolution in writing and proudly displayed.
Under 5 years old. Keep the concept simple and broad.
- Saying “please” and “thank you”
- Brushing teeth
- Packing away toys
- Listening to parent(s)
- Being kind to baby/pet/other children
5 – 10 years old. More specific, longer term goals.
- Keeping room tidy
- Doing homework (set times/amount of time)
- Following sun smart guidelines
- Doing some form of physical activity at least 3 times a week
- Being more inclusive when playing with younger siblings or children at school
Teenagers. Goals that build confidence and self-esteem.
- Removing negative self-talk from my language (eg “I can’t”, “I’m dumb”, “I’m fat”)
- Taking care of their health (include smaller specific goals regarding exercise and/or nutrition)
- Helping out in my community or volunteering
- Trying something new
- Spending time with the family
Don’t forget to review how the resolutions are going for everyone after say, 1, 3 or 6 months. Acknowledgement and praise are due for trying hard and for any successes. Areas that still need work can be discussed and perhaps revised, but don’t punish or reprimand. New Year’s resolutions are not just about the specific goals set, but also about self-awareness and a heartfelt desire for betterment. Children failing to keep their resolutions can still be learning about the process and how it makes them feel about themselves – help them to feel good about both!
Did you and your family make any New Year’s Resolutions?
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