When most people think about New Year's resolutions, they usually imagine adults vowing to get in shape. But New Year's resolutions can be for children too. In fact, New Year's is a great opportunity to teach your little ones how to set goals. You can help them learn new skills and deal with the outcome if they fall short of achieving their goals.
But don't just tell your children to set goals on their own. Help them create a resolution together so you can provide guidance to them and support them along the way. Here are some ways you can help your little one get on the path of following their resolutions:
1. Take the task seriously
Rather than asking your child about their future goals in a nonchalant way, take the task very seriously. Sit down and discuss some resolutions. This doesn't mean you need to treat it like an interview and ask them where they hope to be next year, but you can begin talking about personal growth and how they could achieve it. Use the conversation as an opportunity to talk to them about why goal setting is important and how good it feels once they achieve these goals.
2. Consider alternatives to the typical resolutions
It’s all about getting creative. Your children will be much more likely to stick to goals that feel fun and exciting to them rather than gruelling and tedious. Instead of picking a goal about health or studies, you might decide your family's goal is to fill a board with things you're grateful for each week. Making resolutions fun will itself instil a sense of accountability in them because they’ll be more eager to do the task.
3. Help identify realistic and healthy goals
You might hear anything from "I want to be the most popular kid in school" to "I want to score the most points on the basketball team" when you ask your child what they'd like to achieve. Listen to their ideas and help them tweak them as needed.
If their goals are unrealistic, or in any way unattainable, work together to establish a better version of that very resolution.
4. Identify small and actionable steps
For seemingly big resolutions, help your child turn it into doable, actionable steps. "I'll read some pages every night" or "I'll do my assignments before dinner every week" are extremely clear action steps. Write down these action steps. Hang them up somewhere where your little one can see it. Identify a clear start date and create a plan accordingly for taking action.
5. Make it a engaging learning experience
Whether your child achieves their goals or the resolutions don't last more than a day, always make the experience a teachable moment. Discuss topics like overcoming failure, goal-setting, time management, motivation, and life's inevitable challenges. There's a good chance that both you and your child can learn a lot from the experience, whether the opportunity allows you to develop stronger communication skills or a failed opportunity gives you the chance to develop resilience.
Even the most meticulously planned or realistic and carefully-planned resolutions don't always pan out the way we would have hoped. If outside factors get in the way of your little one’s goals, you can use your own experiences to teach them about being flexible.
Learning to adapt and pivot when life throws them a curveball is a fundamental aspect of building resilience. Turn their disappointments into teachable moments and help them navigate their own New Year's resolutions one step at a time. Here’s to the new year. Happy 2023!