Most of us are pretty familiar with making New Year’s resolutions, but it can be a bit tricky when it comes to kids. Young kids may be too little to understand the concept of self-improvement, while older kids can be resistant to change or goal-setting. According to parents.com, the ideal age for helping your kids make resolutions is 7 to 12 years old.
Whatever your children’s age, if you think they’re up for the task of making resolutions, here are 6 strategies to help guide them in their goal selection.
1. Walk the Walk
The most important thing you can do in helping your kids make resolutions is to make some yourself and be open and honest about your goals and your progress. Tell your kids about your plans for the year and how you hope to achieve them – then ask if they have anything they want to work on with you.
2. Be Positive
As adults, it’s easy to use New Year’s resolutions as an excuse to be hard on ourselves and call out our own faults but when it comes to kids, it’s important to stay positive! Make your resolutions more about what you can do to be better, rather than correcting existing flaws. Sometimes, it’s just a change of wording. Instead of “stop eating junk food”, try resolving to “make more homemade meals”.
3. Give them Guidance
Ideally, kids are able to come up with their own resolutions but sometimes they need a little guidance. Try creating resolutions categories and encouraging them to make one goal for each category. Example categories could include things like health/fitness, friendships, work/school and around the house.
4. Track their Progress
Tracking progress helps kids keep their resolutions top of mind and also makes them feel great about how well they’re doing. A great way to do this is to break down resolutions into smaller goals (see: #3) and then use stickers or a star chart to acknowledge each time they accomplish one of their mini-goals.
5. Make it a Family Affair
If kids are still skeptical about making their own resolutions, try creating a set of family resolutions. Do you want to play outside more as a family? Take a trip together? Do a better job recycling? Creating family resolutions can help get everybody involved, even those too young or unwilling to create their own.
6. Start a Tradition
Keeping resolution-making fun is what will really get the kids involved. Consider starting some resolution traditions like a family dinner out, a game night or even a special food treat that everyone shares while they make their goals for the new year.