Making New Year’s resolutions is one of the most underappreciated holiday traditions. It’s usually considered as something people promise, but never actually do. On the other hand, there’s something nice (and most importantly teachable) about striving to be a better person and setting goals for yourself. You should encourage your kids to make a couple of resolutions and help them see them through. First of all, it can be a fun family activity and secondly, you can use it to teach your children how important it is to try to improve yourself.
People usually set a broad goal for themselves. And that is fine because that’s kind of the whole point – to be a better person in the year to come. However, your goals will be more achievable if you make them more specific and detailed. That’s why you should help your kids set the goals in two stages. First of all, talk about their broader goal and then make it specific – outline the steps they need to take to achieve it. For instance, if the goal is to drink less soda in 2017, the resolution should be: “We’re going to get a juicer and use it together every day”.
It’s also really important to keep track of your progress. The only way to do it is to have a resolution which is measurable. Adding numbers and dates to it can seem like you’re creating extra stress for your kid, but you can find a way to make it fun. For instance, put up a bulletin board in the kitchen on which the whole family can mark the progress they’re making. It’s not enough to say your kids will read more books next year. Set the number of books you’re planning to read (52 is often the way to go) and set a day on which you will discuss the books read and make a note of the progress.
It’s perfectly fine to have a couple of personal or even vanity goals. For instance, “we are going to take more family trips” is a lovely go (as long as you set it more clearly). But, at least some of the resolutions should be more relevant to your kids’ professional and academic life (as much as young child can have those kinds of aspirations). Think about involving professionals from an early learning centre in this goal setting process. Find out what subjects or themes in general are of interest to your kids and try to make resolutions based on them.
Children (well, most adults as well) tend to set too ambitious goals because a year seems like a long time. As we all know – it really isn’t – it may not even be long enough to truly master some complex skill. Therefore, goals like “I want to be awarded a master title in chess” or “I’m going to get a black belt this year” are bad examples. Those kinds of resolutions can actually create an opposite effect. Kids can get discouraged if the plan doesn’t go through. Even if you set and formulate the resolutions, kids can still hang on to their version of the goal, so make sure you talk this one over a couple of times, so everyone is on the same page.
Go easy on them
As we said before, there’s a feeling that most people give up on their resolutions pretty quickly. This is because most actually do. The same goes for children, as well. If you notice that the routine is wearing off as time goes by, remind your kids about the resolution, but do it gently. It’s just an idea, nothing is going to happen if they decide to quit altogether.
Setting a New Year’s resolution can be a way for the whole family to try to improve themselves in 2017. Help your kids set and keep their resolutions by providing guidance and advice, but most importantly by setting an example.