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Tips on how to help children benefit from making resolutions

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By Agencies

Posted  Friday, December 27   2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Each family member gets a turn sharing something they are proud of and something they want to improve. It may help for parents to go first, to give children a model.


Make it a family activity

The best way to teach your children the importance of New Year’s resolutions is by making it part of the family tradition. Sit down each December and reflect on the past year, discussing your accomplishments and goals, as individuals and as a family. In your conversation, you can each talk about what worked this year and what did not.

Each family member gets a turn sharing something they are proud of and something they want to improve. It may help for parents to go first, to give children a model.

If your child is old enough to write, he or she should write down their accomplishments and goals, and you can help your younger child by writing theirs down. Resolutions for the entire family might include playing board games twice a month or committing to more volunteering activities. Try to limit the number so they are more doable and more meaningful.

Different resolutions for different ages
What your child needs to work on depends on your child. If you are concerned about his diet, then encourage healthier eating habits for him as well as the whole family. If your daughter’s room is a mess, try to help her commit 10 minutes a day to cleaning it. As your child grows, he can be more active in coming up with goals, which will mean more to him when he achieves them. Clarke-Pearson a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, suggests pre-schoolers be encouraged to work on listening and helping skills.

A resolution could be “I will be a better listener when Mommy or Daddy asks me to do something” If you keep it simple, your child is more likely to understand the concept as well as succeed.

As a child reaches age five and up to age 12, he or she is more able to comprehend a resolution and participate more in the process of picking one. What your child needs to work on is very personal, so work with your child to come up with areas for improvement. Is she having trouble with a certain subject at school that needs more attention? Is he oversleeping and nearly missing the bus most mornings?

When your child gets into adolescence, the (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendations focus more on the child taking more responsibility for his actions, including taking care of his body, dealing with stress in a healthy way, talking through conflict, etc.

Serve as a role model
No matter what age your child is, he or she is more likely to understand the value of goal setting if you take the lead. Just as with everything else you do, your child is watching. “Parents should be reflective about how they wish to be in the coming year,” Siegel says.

“It’s a good opportunity to promote good mental and physical health.” Think of how you can include your child in your resolution. “I’m going to drink more water this year, because water is good for me. Do you want to join me?” If you are finding yourself checking your e-mail when you should be spending time as a family, consider incorporating that into a goal. “I’m going to turn off my phone when I get home. Can you remind me and also remember to keep your computer in your room until after dinner time?”