Creative Child

Happy, Healthy, Kid-Friendly New Years Resolutions

by Erin J. Bernard on Dec 15th, 2014

This January, teach a lesson in tenacity by helping your children set and work toward personal goals. Follow these parenting tips.

Plenty of adults ring in the New Year by resolving to improve, but New Year’s Resolutions are also a fantastic way teach your kids about the great things that can come from a bit of perseverance and planning.

Set the stage for resolution-making by first explaining to your child that the New Year offers everyone an opportunity to start fresh, no matter what has happened before, suggests the Ohio State University’s Extension Office. Then, describe to them the three main types of resolutions: those we make for ourselves, those that involve family or friends, and those that involve the larger world.

The key to gaining buy-in for the activity is to let your child pick his or her own resolution – don’t view the exercise as an opportunity to stamp out habits that annoy you, but as a chance to help your children improve manners, habits, and social skills on their own terms. Listen, offer advice as needed, and encourage creativity! Your children’s goals don’t have to be serious; they might be wacky, funny, or unique to them in some special way.

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Related Article: 21 Days to Positive Parenting

For preschoolers, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests keeping resolutions very simple. Aim for an uncomplicated, task-oriented goal such as putting away toys every day or always washing hands after using the bathroom. Consider also resolutions that build on those all-important social skills: your preschooler might promise to avoid teasing dogs and cats, or to talk with a parent when he or she feels afraid or sad.

For elementary-aged children, AAP suggests focusing on goals that promote greater autonomy in physical healthy and safety: cutting back on sugary drinks or sweets, pursuing a new sport or physical activity, or committing to wearing helmets and seat-belts are all great ways for your older child to begin taking ownership of well being. The New Year is also a prime time to raise the issue of online safety with your kids, AAP adds: they might resolve to never give out private information on the Internet, or to avoiding sending photos of themselves to anyone without checking in first. On the social side, kids might set a goal of befriending a classmate or new kid struggling to fit in, or to get along better with siblings.

And if your whole brood is in need of a change, considering making a family resolution that you can work toward together throughout the year. Group goals are great for health- and fitness-related resolutions such as getting into better shape or eating more fruits and vegetables. But keep it fun: jump-start the resolution by taking up a pursuit designed to encourage success, such as hiking, skiing, or enrolling in a healthy cooking class. Family resolutions are also great for improving communication: you might resolve to listen to each other more carefully, or to balance work and play to create more opportunities for quality time together.

Once you’ve settled on your resolutions, make the promises stick by writing them down, OSU suggests, then signing your names on them and hanging up the finished list on the refrigerator. Happy resolving!

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics

http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Healthy-New-Year-Resolutions-for-Kids.aspx

Ohio State University Extension – Family and Consumer Sciences

http://butler.osu.edu/topics/family-and-consumer-sciences/news/help-your-children-make-new-year2019s-resolutions

Erin J. Bernard is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer from Portland, Oregon. Before becoming a writer, Erin worked as a nanny and an ESL classroom teacher. She taught English at a Montessori school in Mexico and then ran an after-school language program in South Korea. Erin is the editor of the parenting guide, “Instructions Not Included: A Pediatrician’s Prescription for Raising the Best Kids on the Block,” written by Irwin H. Berkowitz, MD.

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