New Year’s Resolutions Made Fun with the Family
by Sandy Siegman, M.S. Ed.
New Year’s is a time to celebrate new beginnings. So, this year consider involving your children in creating New Year’s resolutions. This can be a valuable teachable moment as you choose and set goals that are achievable. Start off by explaining what a resolution is and give examples. Making resolutions can be fun and exciting as you think about growth and change and a great opportunity for family bonding. Here are some tips to make New Year’s resolutions a memorable and positive experience for your family.
- Be a good role model, lead by example. Let your children see you sticking to your own goals and communicate your feelings when things get a little tough. You may want to show them that sometimes things can be adjusted a little along the way.
- Keep a positive approach to resolutions. Don’t approach things in a punishing or nagging way, or your children will get turned off. Guide them by reviewing all the positive accomplishments they made last year and then help them to build on. Suggest some general categories that need change and then let your child think up the goal so that they can take ownership of it. Some examples of categories may be personal goals, friendship goals, helping goals and health goals.
- Prioritize the list and keep it short. Help your child narrow it down to a couple of things to focus on. Then, be more concrete and specific. For example, “I will behave better” is too general. Break it down into more manageable steps. Target the area your child needs to improve upon and discuss why it’s important. Let your child make the list fun, personal and creative. Have them make some drawings about their resolutions. Some other examples are:
Instead of: I’m going to eat healthier.
Suggest: I’m going to eat a vegetable with dinner every night.
Instead of: I’m going to exercise more.
Suggest: I’m going to take a walk with Mom/Dad.
Instead of: We have to cut down on screen time.
Suggest: We will read together for 15 minutes before bedtime.
Instead of: I’m going to help around the house.
Suggest: I will set the table for dinner every night.
Instead of: I’m going to be nicer to my sibling.
Suggest: I’m going to play with Play-Doh with my sibling.
- Check up on your kids periodically. If there are lapses in their resolutions, don’t worry, it’s not a failure. First, affirm how hard it is, discuss what is getting in the way, and then help them get excited about it again.
- Make the list of resolutions visual and accessible.
Families are so busy these days, so make New Year’s resolutions a special ritual every year. Engage all the senses. Play some favorite music, cook a special treat that smells and tastes good. Put out some fun crayons, markers, magazines and colorful paper to create your vision for the upcoming year.