Should Your Kids Make New Year Resolutions?

The idea of New Year’s Resolutions may not hold too much meaning for some, especially since so many people end up abandoning their New Year’s aspirations by the wayside come the second week of January. But the idea still holds, and there are plenty of people who make their lives better and improve their character by making an active choice. The idea behind a New Year’s Resolution is to essentially to look back at the previous year and consider what you want to happen for you in the one approaching. With this in mind, you can list changes that you want to make, goals you wish to achieve or healthy habits that you want to embrace. This sort of positive thinking can be beneficial to children, especially as they get older and become more self-aware and begin to grow into individuals of their own.

Lead By Example
When it comes to developing healthy habits and overall behavior, kids learn best by example. Sit down with your kids and talk with them. Ask them questions about their year and what they hope for the year to come. But don’t just get into a discussion about observations and aspirations. Share your own resolutions with them and lead by example.

Parents, like many other adults, tend to make the same resolutions year after year. Lose weight, eat healthier, and travel more. But many of these aspirations are abandoned due to continuously busy schedules and life simply getting in the way. While it is still good to think about bettering your lifestyle as best as you can, you can also consider adopting other resolutions that may be more attainable. As a parent, you can make aspirations to commit more one-on-one time with your kids, devoting a certain amount of days per week to read them to bed, play a game, or prepare a meal together. You can improve daily family routines that will help you all excel in the upcoming year such as everyone in the house getting involved with chores, cooking dinner or planning family time together.

Stay Positive
Make sure that you present resolutions and the idea of making them in an optimistic way. Sure, resolutions are about bettering yourself and your life, but it does not mean that it has to be presented in an obligatory manner. Kids don’t want to feel like they have homework and they may generally respond negatively if the idea of making resolutions is approached in a preachy way or enforced with a punishment of sorts, or even the mere idea of negative side effects arising as a result if a goal is not met. Kids should feel excited about the resolutions they make! This enthusiasm will better ensure that they are successful in their endeavors and will help them feel confident enough to do so as well.

Keep it Simple
This advice does not just apply to kids looking to make New Year’s Resolutions but to adults as well. Keeping your list to around three is a great (and realistic) start. Having too many resolutions can feel overwhelming and it may seem impossible to complete the list. Sticking to a few goals and working at them day by day, you and your child are more likely to see positive results.

Now that you have an idea of when New Year’s Resolutions may be good for kids, how they can be helpful in building character and how to go about doing it, what are some good resolutions for kids? Here is a starter list to help you get going:

1. Read more!
—- As a parent, you can help your child choose a number goal if they would like based on their age and reading level. Make a game out of it and create a chart to track your child’s progress throughout the year!

2. Learn and maintain healthy habits
—- This resolution can apply differently depending on the age of the child. For instance, kids aged 3-5 can resolve to brush their teeth on their own, or at least try, every morning and night, whereas kids aged 7-12 can resolve to drink more water or make healthier lunch choices at school.

Courtesy of Dr. Theresa Fuller S.M.A.R.T Resolutions

3. Eat more veggies
—- A bit like the previous resolution, eating veggies can help kids live better, but when it comes to eating healthy you can incorporate meal prep and cooking into their resolution, too. Have your kids prepare one meal a night that includes veggies – studies show that kids are more likely to eat new foods, especially veggies, if they had a hand in the preparation.

4. Stay active!
—- Whether your children choose to pick up a new sport or devote a certain amount of time per day or per week to a certain activity, this can be a really fun resolution.

5. Do chores
—- Without making it sound too much like a demand, discuss with your child a chore or two that they can become in charge of this upcoming year.

6. Be kind.
—- Encourage your children to perform acts of kindness. There need not be a specific reason or prerogative behind the gesture, but by enforcing the idea, kids may develop the habit of treating others well, being polite and helping others without needing to be prompted as they get older.

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