New Year’s Resolutions for Kids: How to Set Realistic, Fun Goals with Your Kids
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Now that the holidays have come to a close and another year is in the rearview mirror, people are motivated to make the coming year the best one yet. Reviewing our lives and setting New Year’s resolutions is a tradition that dates back to ancient Babylon 4,000 years ago. Whether we have fitness goals, financial goals, or relationship goals, it’s an important exercise to set goals to improve our lives.
Our kids can also see big changes in their lives by making New Year’s resolutions and working towards them. By simply helping your child set realistic goals, it can help them become more goal-oriented over time, according to Christing Carter, Ph.D., author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents.
“[Kids ages 7-12] are still young enough that their habits are not firm,” she says. “They’re old enough to think about what a New Year’s resolution is and to make their own—yet parents can still help guide them.”
With New Year’s Day coming fast, here are some ideas that can help you and your kids make resolutions that stick.
Start with Family Resolutions
January is a great time for looking back at the last year to take stock of what happened. It’s a great idea to talk about family accomplishments to kickstart the conversation about what goals each person would like to set to make the new year even better.
This is a great opportunity to create a family tradition. Try adding some sweet elements like hot chocolate or cookies while everyone works on them.
Write them down
If you make a goal without writing it down, is it really a goal? Maybe, but goal setting research has shown that by writing down your goals, you’re 42 percent more likely to accomplish them. The same goes with your kids. Make sure to help your kids write down their goals somewhere where they won’t get lost.
Don’t force resolutions
It’s important to let your kids decide their own resolutions, rather than making a list of things you want them to improve. The latter will likely backfire by making it feel like a chore to them—and in turn—make them less excited to turn New Year’s resolutions into a family tradition.
Help your kids by asking questions and prompting different trains of thought for them to explore. This way, they’ll come to their own conclusions on the goals they should set.
Below are a handful of questions related to New Year’s resolution ideas for kids that you could use as a starting point to prompt their own goals.
- What could I do to have more energy and feel better? Should I drink more water and less soda? Could I improve my diet?
- Do I get sick too often? How well do I wash my hands? Do I brush my teeth morning and night?
- Do I spend too much time on screens? Am I addicted to my cell phone or video games?
- How many times a week am I doing some kind of physical activity?
- What am I doing to help other people? Could I be working with community groups?
- What can I do to help the family? Could I do a better job of cleaning up my toys or could I help cook dinner?
Help formulate realistic and concrete goals
Considering only 35 percent of people who create New Year’s resolutions follow through with them, it’s vital to help your kids have a positive experience when they set goals.
Ensure the goals they set are achievable. If their goals are too lofty for their age, you can help steer them toward something they could realistically accomplish.
Another essential part of helping your kids create achievable goals is making them concrete with milestones or ways to track their progress. Think of it like a step-by-step plan, rather than a goal.
For example: If your child makes a goal to try new foods, you could help them make it concrete by asking, “How many new foods do you want to try this year, and how many foods will you need to try each month to complete your goal?”
By simply attaching a number to the goal of trying new foods, your kid will be able to track how many new foods they try and how many more they need to try. This will make their goals a continuous progression, rather than a big goal with no easy-to-find starting point or ending point.
Resolutions by example
Most parents understand that kids often pick up their parents’ habits, for better or worse. But when it comes to New Year’s resolutions or other goals, you must take the opportunity to make attainable goals that show the importance of physical and mental health.
If, for example, your child decides to create goals around daily exercise or limiting screen time, and then create a similar goal and stick to it.
Setting goals is an important life skill to teach your kids and could have a long-lasting impact on their lives. But it’s important to remember to keep the fun element in creating goals. Your kids may not complete all or any of their goals their first time setting resolutions, and that’s ok. If you make it more about encouragement and excitement, your kids will look forward to setting and accomplishing goals.
Make milestones with Gabb Watch and the GabbGo app
Need a good way to help your kids stay on track with their New Year’s resolutions? Gabb Watch comes equipped with GabbGo, a customizable and interactive to-do list for your kids. With each custom to-do list item completed, they will earn coins to purchase fun digital pets and unlock mystery moves.
By combining the New Year’s resolution tips above with the Gabb Watch and GabbGo, your kid will have what they need to start and complete their goals.
Check out the Gabb Watch here.
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