Resolution setting is a great opportunity to model our experiences with resolutions and goal setting with our kids and practice these important skills together! Typically, we would think about New Year’s resolutions as goals for ourselves, and the common ones that come to mind are “big” changes relating to health/fitness or financial goals. What we often don’t think about with New Year’s resolutions is the opportunity to use them to model behavior and habit changes for our children.
By definition, a New Year’s resolution is simply a goal or something we want to achieve/change. When it comes to our children, it is a great idea to think about New Year’s resolutions in a few different ways:
- behaviors that you’d like to turn into habits
- new opportunities for collaboration within the family
- a fun opportunity for your child(ren) to express themselves
The key is making sure that the resolutions that we choose are achievable. By making resolutions that likely are not attainable, we will not feel the positive reward of completing a long-term goal, resulting in being unable to achieve the goal or possibly avoid it all together out of fear. Fear of failure can lead to future avoidance of goal-setting behaviors. We also want to ensure that each individual feels strongly about achieving their personal resolution and has some level of independence in choosing what they’d like to accomplish. Most importantly, we want to create a positive resolution for ourselves. Keeping resolutions positive could look like choosing goals that are framed around doing something rather than avoiding something. Positive goals are more attainable!
Below are some ideas on creating positive resolutions for the whole family:
- Practice one random act of kindness per day.
- Thank someone who went out of their way to help us.
- Choose a group or organization and volunteer or donate together.
- Use less plastic/become more eco-friendly/produce less waste
- Learn a new language together – yes, young children can participate in this!
- Starting a family activity together (game night, craft, tradition, etc.).
- Reframe one negative thought every day.
- Establish Positive Affirmations and repeat them daily (“I am smart”, “I am strong”, etc.)
- Spend less time on all electronic devices: cellphone, video games, tablets, social media, etc.
- Learn one new vocab word a day!
Another way to keep ourselves accountable is to display our resolutions in a shared space. Have each family member write out their personal resolution in a room that everyone is in every day. This room could be the living room, kitchen, or even a study room! Another place to write this could be on the mirror in a communal bathroom – along with additional affirmations and reminders! Jars are also helpful in keeping track of how many times we accomplish a resolution. This can easily be turned into a fun family competition on who can have the longest streak accomplishing their resolution! Whichever method you choose, it is vital to set space for a family discussion, ensuring that each child has the opportunity to create and establish their own resolution for themselves.
So, how best can we help our child set and attain resolutions throughout the year? Establish check-ins and examine what hurdles stand in between your child, and achieving their resolution(s) is a great place to start.
Here are a few questions to ask during your check-in:
- What is getting in our way?
- Did we fall “off track” on our resolution?
- How can we get back “on track”?
It is important to reassure your child that they did nothing wrong by falling off track. Allow them a safe space to forgive the “hiccup” — we are all human after all! Afterward, establish a plan to get back on track, or reevaluate what is important and let go of the resolution entirely. No matter what resolution we choose or how we plan to execute it, it is important to enjoy the process along the way together! This is an excellent opportunity to revise our previous plan and find new ways to experience success along the way.
No matter what resolution we choose or how we plan to execute it, it is important to enjoy the process along the way together!