When planning, it is important to set resolutions or goals that are clear, achievable and measurable. Resolutions can be made at any age, but it may be most effective to start with school-aged children. Parents should ask kids, ‘What’s something you want to be better or different this year?’ and help them map out how to get there.
Some helpful reminders for parents helping children with New Year’s Resolutions (and sticking to them):
1. Set goals that are clear, achievable and measurable for the child and his/her abilities - talk about making them specific. If a child wants to do better in school, have him pick a specific subject. Set a goal. “I will do better in school by raising my grade in science from a 3 to a
2. Consider setting goals as a family, with every person doing his/her own part – this is a great lesson for teamwork AND for all working together towards a common goal. Sitting down for dinner, going out once a week as a family, or each sharing a chore at home are great examples that involve everyone.
3. Avoid setting too many goals - A long list of resolutions is simply too overwhelming. Young children should focus on one thing they want to impove and older children should limit it to two or three. Talk with your children about what is most important and focus on those. Then maybe take your own advice and set few for yourself, too.
4. Write Those Resolutions Down - Writing things down makes them more real. Write down the resolutions in either a private journal if your child wants it to be private or on a piece of paper that is posted someplace visible if your child doesn’t mind everyone seeing. Older children could possibly begin a journal to track their resolution journey.
5. Follow up periodically to see how children are doing with their goals; Trouble-shoot challenges together - Ask your children how their resolutions are coming along. Suggest ways that they can stick to their resolutions. If they mess up, encourage them to try again. Let them know that January 1st is not the only day for resolutions. They can start them, or re-start them, whenever they want.
6. Reward children for success along the way - Verbal praise goes a long way! Sticking by our resolutions provides parents with an invaluable opportunity to teach children that rewards not always have to be tangible. Children can learn early on that the reward itself is perseverance, and knowing that something they set their mind to can be done.
7. Be an Example For Your Kids - Do you have your own resolutions? Share one of them with your children. Then do your best to follow through with it. Compare resolution notes with your children from time to time. Encourage each other. Remember, parents are mentors for setting resolutions. Model the type of behavior you want as a family and everyone will be more successful.
Who knows? By helping your children learn to make and keep New Year’s resolutions, you may just break the cycle and start keeping your own!