WASHINGTON, January 4, 2017 – New Year’s celebrations and college football bowl games are over but there is one more important ritual: setting family resolutions for the year. According to Dr. Benjamin Siegel, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, creating New Year resolutions as a family project has tremendous benefits that kids will especially enjoy, reported PBS.
Children learn from their primary role models so when they see parents discussing New Year’s resolutions they are inclined to follow in their steps as well. This is a perfect opportunity for parents to use as a teachable moment to help children begin to improve themselves.
One of the most effective ways to set the resolutions and help make them work for everyone’s benefit is to keep them simple but meaningful. It would help to develop behavior goals that parents and kids can improve on collectively. This will assist the family in learning how to manage self-discipline techniques.
Some child and parenting experts like Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, believe the optimum age for children to learn about making resolutions is between 7-12, according to Parents magazine. The online teacher believes that at this age kids can begin to fully understand what a “New Year’s resolution is and to make their own — yet parents can still help guide them.”
Yet, it still might be a good idea to involve kids as young as kindergarten or first grade, even if their resolutions are only one or two fun goals that can be easily achieved.
How to Begin
While the year is fresh it certainly helps to create a setting that is friendly and fun. Being positive and engaging is a good way to start. For example, it would be great to discuss some of the great ways each family member helped during the past year on weekends, during holidays and even on household chores.
When the list is completed, each member can then share how they would turn their positive task responses into goals for the New Year. Now it is time to write down some of the challenging items that each family member felt were not positive behavior issues.
It is important to let the kids know parents are not going to keep score or hold their comments against them. Remember the idea is that each person can be rewarded with improving themselves by also listing how they want to improve.
Resolution goals for kids
PBS has some very nifty and easily achievable behavioral resolution goals suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that kids can work toward. Of course, the suggestions should be age appropriate. Here are a few for kids:
- Being a better listener to dad and mom
- Picking up and putting away toys
- Feeding and taking care of pets
- Washing hands and brushing teeth
- Doing daily and weekly chores
- Healthy living suggestions like eating less junk food, drinking more water and milk or exercising more regularly
- Observing family bed time hours
- Stop oversleeping in the morning
- Stop texting at the dinner table
Keeping track and rewards
There are a few excellent ways for the family to keep track of the improvement each as achieved in reaching or exceeding the individual and family resolution goals. Keeping track on the computer or tablet is one way, while other options include be to keep the list in the kitchen on the refrigerator or in the family room in a resolution box.
Rewards go hand in hand with achieving resolution goals. The best way to keep the family resolution goals going throughout the year is to go over the list on a monthly or quarterly basis. Set up an achievement chart or board in the kitchen, dining room or even family room and provide the kids with praise for their accomplishment. Their self-esteem goes up and so does their continuing cooperation.
Rewards for achievement can be small monetary ones or they can be something the entire family will enjoy like a night at the movies, a special dinner, a trip to a favorite lake, park or sports game. They sky is the limit on this and everyone wins