The New Year is the perfect time to talk to your children about setting realistic goals. Learning to work for positive and lasting change is an essential life skill that benefits people of all ages, from preschoolers to adults.
Unfortunately, many New Year’s resolutions are abandoned before January is over. This is usually due to the fact that the original foundation for establishing support and accountability has not been established. Here’s how you can set age-appropriate resolutions as a family for a healthier and happier year.
Set SMART goals
Instead of typical resolutions, try setting SMART goals, which are:
- Specific – List exactly what you want to achieve (instead of «running faster», think of «running 5 km in less than 30 minutes»).
- Measurable : How will you keep track of your goal and determine if it was successful?
- Achievable – Your goals should not be easy, but they should be possible. Do you have the means and the ability to make your dream come true?
- Relevant : Does this goal serve you greater concentration and purpose in life?
- Completed – Set a deadline. Try to reach stages on certain dates.
Resolution ideas for preschoolers
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 may have trouble meeting long-term goals. However, thinking about a few small goals to work on each day is a good strategy for this age group. Place a decal chart on the refrigerator to help them keep track of their goals. You can even discuss reward planning if you are successful.
Here are some examples of age-appropriate goals for preschoolers:
- I will clean my toys at the end of the day before I go to bed.
I I’m going to brush my teeth twice a day, once after breakfast and once before bed.
- I will wash my hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
- I’ll taste all the food on my plate, even if it’s just one bite.
- I will work on my letters and numbers for at least five minutes a day.
Goals for school-age children
The motion for resolutions is also a fun activity for school-age children (kindergarten through high school).
Here are some ideas to help your child get started:
I will drink milk and water, limiting soft drinks and fruit drinks once a day or less.
I will use sunscreen before going out on a sunny day. I’ll leave it by the door to remind me to apply it before I go out.
- I will find a sport (such as basketball or football) or an activity (such as tagging, skipping rope, dancing, or cycling) that I can do at least three times a week.
I will always wear a helmet when walk on bicycle .
- I’ll fasten my seat belt every time I get in a car.
- I will turn off electronic devices, such as tablets, TVs, and video games, at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- I will read at least one book a month.
New Year’s resolutions for teenagers
Adolescents are old enough to make their own resolutions. However, they may need guidance to ensure that they set realistic goals. Talking to your teen about his or her resolutions gives him or her the opportunity to connect and learn about what is important to him or her.
Here are some things your teen might want to work on:
I will eat at least one fruit and one plant every day.
- I will spend 30 to 60 minutes a day doing physical activity.
- I will limit video games or television to one or two hours a day.
- I will help in my community by volunteering or working with community groups.
- I will delete the negative «self-talk» (meaning «I can’t do it» or «I’m so stupid») from my vocabulary.
- I will keep my phone in the glove compartment when driving so that I am not tempted to check text messages or take calls.
- I will open a savings account and work to save a certain amount of money each month.
- I will not check notifications on social media after I go to bed for the night.
New Year’s family resolutions
How about making New Year’s resolutions to work as a family? Include your children in the goal setting process to improve your interactions and develop healthy habits together.
Here are some ideas:
- We will limit fast food to twice a month or less.
We will add at least one snack with fresh fruit to our daily routine.
We’ll spend 30 minutes outside playing together every night of the week. If the weather is bad, we will play an active game indoors.
- We will choose a fun run or walk or 5K in a few months, we will register, we will train in the family and we will participate together.
We will share a meal (either dinner or lunch Breakfast ) together four days a week. We will not use mobile phones at the table.
- We will play a board game together every Sunday night to connect and enjoy quality time together.
A word from Verywell
Even the most realistic and carefully planned resolutions do not always work as we expect. If external factors hinder your child’s goals, you can use experience to teach flexibility. Learning to adapt and transform when life puts us on a curved ball is a fundamental aspect of building resilience. Turn disappointments into learning moments and help your child navigate his or her New Year’s resolutions.