As the holiday season ends each year and the world gets ready for a fresh year to begin, the concept of setting New Year’s resolutions begins to pop up all over the place. While these are often personal goals that we set for ourselves, they can also be perfectly applicable to the lives of our families and, in particular, our children. Here are some thoughts on teaching your children to value genuine, thoughtful New Year’s resolutions along with some suggestions for setting resolutions for yourself and your children together.
Why Set New Year’s Resolutions With Your Kids
Every year it’s estimated that a whopping 100 million people set New Year’s resolutions in the United States alone. Some of the most common resolutions involve exercise, healthy eating, and taking more time to care for ourselves. However, it’s helpful to remember that the new year is a time to keep our children’s well-being in mind as much as our own. Particularly when they’re young and just starting to develop a sense of self, it can be the perfect time to begin teaching them to set and stick to goals for self-improvement.
As parent and child therapist Jennifer Kolari said, referring to kids around the ages of 7-12, “They’re beginning to be mindful and to understand others’ perspectives. They’re doing more independently, and they’re starting to open up to broader goals of how to become their best selves.”
What Makes a Good Resolution
Part of the struggle in making good New Year’s resolutions is trying to find things that are both reasonable and maintainable for both the big picture as well as the here and now. Setting short and long term goals is a skill that is useful for more than just professional business executives. When you go about making your New Year’s resolutions, make sure to take the time to sort through which goals are short term and which ones are long term.
Sometimes these can be unrelated. For example, you may want to try to read a book you’ve been trying to get around to (short term) as well as eat healthier on a regular basis (long term). At other times it’s worth noting that a single resolution has both a short and long term goal involved. Trying to exercise every day involves the short term goal of getting in shape as well as the long term goal of maintaining a fitness regimen.
Some Suggestions for You and Your Child
Everyone can benefit from a few thoughtful New Year’s resolutions. Here is a great source for resolution suggestions for both parents and children to consider doing together. In the meantime, a few of the best parent/child New Year’s resolutions have been highlighted below.
Make New Friends
Everyone can use a new friend now and then. Whether you just moved and are looking to start from scratch or you’ve lived in the same place all your life, it never hurts for children and adults alike to make a fresh effort in the relationship department.
Give Yourself a Little Love
Loving yourself the same way you love others is all the rage these days. When properly harnessed, the power of self-care really can yield powerful dividends. Challenge your kids and yourself to find meaningful, purposeful ways to take care of yourselves better this upcoming year.
Travel More Often
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the endlessly busy humdrum activities of life. Make a point to pick a spot with your children every month or two and go on an adventure! Whether you’re visiting a brand new place or just trying to get out to visit grandma more often, incorporating more travel into your routine is a great way to keep things exciting and fresh.
Enjoy the Little Moments
It’s so easy to get wrapped up intending to work, school, the house, sports, and the list goes on. Both parents and children can benefit immensely from committing to simply taking more time to just slow down and enjoy where they are on a regular basis.
Be More Positive
Being optimistic is a game-changer. Unfortunately, though, maintaining a positive attitude is easier said than done. Making a choice to purposefully remain optimistic even when things are tough is a great resolution. It can help you see the glass half full more often and can have the extra benefits of improving your mood and emotions on a day-to-day basis.
Spend More Time as a Family
This one is easy to understand, yet sometimes quite difficult to pull off. But if everyone involved purposes to spend more quality time together, you really can maintain this one on a more regular basis. Set up a game night, spend an evening watching a movie together (with those cell phones off!), go to the park, or head out on a hike. Whatever you enjoy doing together, take the time to do it!
Setting Long-Term Resolutions
One of the best perks about setting New Year’s resolutions with your children is the fact that you have a built-in accountability partner to make sure you stay on track. There’s nothing quite like the knowledge that you’re setting an example for your children to help a parent keep focused on doing something well. Of course, that still leaves the business of setting the resolution itself. Did you see a resolution above that resonated with you or your children? What other resolutions do you have in mind to try with your kids? Post your ultimate New Year’s resolution below!