Each new year, millions of adults make various resolutions to improve different facets of their lives from finances to health and happiness. While resolution making (and breaking) can be potentially damaging to one’s self esteem, it can also be a positive, life changing experience.
If you are planning on making a resolution or two this year, your child may express interest in making a few for him or herself. Encourage and help your child make some reasonable, healthy, and age appropriate goals for a new year. Here are some tips to helping your child make some great resolutions:
Be A Role Model
If you decide to set a resolution for yourself, make sure that there’s a positive conversation about it. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds because you are tired of the way you look. If you tell your child about your resolution and the reason behind it, he or she may think that his or her body needs to change. You can still work on your own resolution without divulging your own body issues. For example, try saying something like, “My goal is to get healthier in the new year. Would you like to walk with me on the weekends?” You are including your child in a positive activity and still working on your own resolution
On the other hand, if your child starts to make goals about his or her body, make sure that you are facilitating a positive body discussion rather than agreeing that he or she “could lose some weight” or “should try to be prettier”.
Pick a Resolution for the Whole Family
Everyone who has ever made a resolution knows that it can feel a little lonely sometimes, but doing or sharing with others can be a lot easier. A good way to start thinking about and encouraging goals and resolutions is to make a family resolution. It can be something simple like incorporating a vegetable into one meal a day or a little more challenging like decreasing all screen time by a half hour each day. Make it fun, celebrate your successes and keep the whole family involved.
Resolutions Should be Age Appropriate
One of the great things about New Year’s resolutions is that they can be altered to work for a child of any age. For instance, if you want to encourage your child to make a healthy resolution it will be much different for a three year old than a thirteen year old. For younger children, around preschool age, help him or her develop a goal that he or she can think of on his or her own and do with ease. This may be a simple reminder like brushing teeth or washing hands.
If you have an older child, he or she should take more control of making a healthy resolution, but your feedback can be valuable and may be necessary to keep it positive.
Don’t Guilt or Be Disappointed
Goals and resolutions are always difficult and require patience and positivity, you probably know that from years of experience. If your child is struggling with his or her resolution, don’t make him or her feel guilty or show that you’re disappointed; nothing will be gained by your negative words or actions. Be supportive and offer to help your child make a different resolution if the one he or she made just isn’t attainable.