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New Year is just around the corner
New Year celebrates a new beginning and provides a great opportunity to start things afresh! Why not use this opportunity to inculcate some good habits in your children? Children can be taught to make and keep resolutions for the coming year. The practice of making resolutions can be quite effective if you live up to them. This can be a very fruitful exercise and can lead to the development of a better lifestyle, better habits and improved perspective towards life in children.
Children, especially between 7-12, are in the stage where habits are still not firm and open to moulding. At this stage, children begin to be independent, mindful of others and start opening up to broader goals to become their better selves. You can try making resolutions with younger children too. If the children are not old enough to think about what a New Year’s resolution is and to make their own, you can still guide them!
Making resolutions with your children can be exciting and fun! It can be a time for growth and change, and also an opportunity for family bonding. Read on for simple and practical ways to help your growing kids make New Year’s resolutions and keep them too!
Simple and Practical ways to help your children make and keep New Year Resolutions:
Be a Role Model
It is very important to practice what you preach. Children will learn to make and keep resolutions when they see their parents do so first. So, be a role model and make specific and clear resolutions and follow on those all year long. Walk the walk and talk the talk to be most effective and see how it motivates your children to do the same.
Keep it Positive. Reward and Encourage.
Present the resolutions in a positive way. Show children how every day is a new day and how it provides a chance to start again. Children will be turned off if you put it in a punishing and preachy way. Encourage children to think of things they can do now that they couldn’t do last year and how it is because they put in that extra effort. Commend any progress on the previous year’s resolutions. This will motivate children to improve themselves. Do not remind them of their failures; instead, help them find a way to realize those goals in this year’s resolutions.
Guide them to make their own resolutions
Don’t dictate resolutions for your children. Instead, guide and suggest general categories for change. Help them clarify goals, and make sure they’re age-appropriate. Come up with a few broad categories — such as personal goals, friendship goals, helping goals, and school goals — and let them fill in the specifics. Talk to children and find out what’s important to them. Encourage children to come up with resolutions themselves. This will help them take ownership of their goals and learn to plan. Some questions to ask:
- List a few things you want to do this year?
- What do you want to improve?
- What will make your life better and happier?
Take baby steps towards the resolutions
Turning a good objective into a habit is one of the most important skills we can teach our kids. It is the key to happiness in life. Help your children to break resolutions into smaller and easy to achieve goals. Self-discipline comes easily if you go slow. Doing too much can cause fatigue and children can give up sooner. Here are some examples where you can break down broad resolutions into specific, easy-to-do steps.
- I will improve my reading skills … by reading 15 minutes before I go to bed.
- I will eat healthy foods… by eating one fruit for breakfast and one vegetable for lunch.
- I will keep my room clean … by putting my toys away in the toy box.
Keep the resolution list small
Remember to not end up with too many resolutions! There is no point making a huge list of resolutions and not following through. Help children narrow down the list to only 2 or 3 things to focus on.
Make sure the resolutions specific and realistic
Vague resolutions are not easy to implement and don’t make for change. For example, ‘I will behave better’ is too general and will be forgotten quickly. Encourage goals that are within their reach, so children don’t get discouraged. Make sure the resolutions are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound). Let your child make the list fun and personal by making drawings and illustration on their list.
Follow up but do not nag
Follow up periodically to see how your children are doing. Resolutions are a long-term commitment and there will be lapses and lapses are not failures. For example, if your kids are not able to it is not a failure, just a lapse. Acknowledge how hard the resolution is and how it is not easy to stick. Show them how to get excited about it and start again. You could put up the list on the wall to remind children of the resolutions. Remember that no big change is ever accomplished perfectly!
Make resolutions as a family
Making resolutions together brings families closer! You can plan the list together by brainstorming about them. You could make personal and family resolutions. Family resolutions could include travels together or eating dinners together. By making your resolutions together, you and your children can share common goals. You can also get to know about each other’s aspirations and interests.
Add more meaning to the beginning of a New Year
Help your child make and keep resolutions this year. This is certainly a life lesson for children to learn and follow for years to come. What’s more? A resolution always results in the development of positive behaviour and good habits in your children, making you a happy parent in the New Year.