For parents and adults in general, New Years’ resolutions are a way to review and evaluate the past year and determine lifestyle changes you may want to make to better your livelihood and overall well-being. However, your child can make resolutions too! By creating New Years’ resolutions with your child, you can empower them to change their behavior or work towards learning or perfecting a new skill. Although they won’t be able to make goals like “spending less,” there are plenty of kid-friendly resolutions they can make for the New Year. Here are some ways you can create effective, reasonable goals for your child:
Creating a New Year’s Resolution
The New Year’s resolution you and your child come up with for them should follow these SMART guidelines:
Specific – Your child’s resolution should consist of his or her goals and how they should eventually achieve it.
Measurable – You and your child should be able to track his or her progress over the year, whether it be on a chart or regular check-ins.
Attainable – While your child’s goal should be ambitious, it should also remain reasonable. It needs to be something that will put their skills to the test, but not overwhelm them.
Results-oriented – Your child’s resolution should have some sort of explanation of what he or she will be able to accomplish once they have fulfilled their resolution.
Time-bound – The goal should dictate some sort of time frame; since this is a New Year’s resolution, a year is a reasonable timeframe, but you can always adjust the time to fit the goal accordingly. For example, if your child’s goals are to make an A in math by the next progress report, you might set the timeframe for a few months instead of the year.
Sticking to the Resolution
Like parents, children may have a hard time sticking to a resolution. Here are a few ways you can motivate them to keep working towards their goals:
Work towards the same goal – By joining your child in working towards the same or similar goal, you can make each other more accountable for your efforts.
Don’t pressure or nag – Use regular check-ins to review your child’s progress towards their goals with them. You can ask questions about their goals or offer reminders, but don’t put any pressure on them to work harder towards a goal. You want them to get there on their own terms.
Share your experiences – If you find that your child is struggling with a goal, try sharing some of your own experiences with them. Talk about the things that may have helped you or didn’t help, and then discuss with your child what they can do differently next time to better achieve their goal.