You’re never too young nor too old to make a New Year’s resolution. Even the youngest child can set a goal to brush their teeth every morning or pick up their toys before bed. Making resolutions together as a family is a good way for parents to exemplify the benefits of setting and reaching a goal.
When making and keeping resolutions becomes part of your family's traditions, children grow accustomed to reflecting on their past and looking for areas of improvement. Spend some time between Christmas and New Year’s Day discussing with your child what she has accomplished over the year. Perhaps she worked to improve her math grade or increase her reading comprehension. Praise her for her progress. If she started strong and then fizzled out around March, you can also talk about why she stopped working or progressing in that area. It’s possible she progressed as far as she was capable. In that case, she should be encouraged to call her efforts a success. If the goal was too broad or too advanced for her age, set it aside until she is older and pick something more appropriate this year.
Share Your Goals
Once every member of the family has chosen a goal, have a family meeting where you reveal your resolution. This is a good time to record them in a journal, on a bulletin board or place them in a special box. Have each child write their own resolution or draw a picture of their goal. Both sharing their goals and writing them down help to solidify the decision and make it real. Parents should share their goals as well.
Sticking to It
Some adults are motivated by checking items off their to-do list and kids are no different. Adding the New Year’s resolution to a child’s daily chore chart will help them remember it every day and allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment as they complete the task. You can also hold monthly meetings where family members review their goals. If you are already holding weekly family night, simply add five minutes to the beginning or end of the evening to review progress, redirect if necessary, and provide encouragement and praise. Randomly look for times when you can reward your children, and yourself, for your efforts. Focusing on the positive and using failure as a springboard for improvement and reevaluation, will improve your child’s self esteem and provide them with a model they can follow throughout their life.