The creation of a list of New Year's Resolutions is almost as common as staying up until midnight to watch the "ball" drop. Resolution writing is a regular habit as we approach the end of a year and begin to look forward to what's to come. Many adults' resolutions may involve:
- eating better (less junk food!)
- working out more (losing those last few pesky pounds)
- procrastinating less (especially if the resolutions aren't finalized until mid-January)
- taking a trip (finally using that foreign language you learned back in high school), or
- achieving a certain career goal (getting that promotion or advocating for a merit-based raise)
This year, consider creating a list of family resolutions with your child or children instead of or in addition to your personal list. This is a great learning opportunity for your child as they see you reflect on what you could do to better yourself and set their own goals.
Tips for Creating Resolutions as a Family
- Be sure that all family members have a voice in the process and are involved. Personal lists may be created as well, but the main list is for realistic, achievable goals for the whole family.
- Reflect on the previous year - discussing accomplishments and unrealized goals - for both individuals and the family as a whole.
- Depending on the goal, consider what each family member can do to help the family achieve their goal(s).
- Consider posting your resolutions somewhere visible so that you can all remember the goals you have set. This accountability can help you stay on track for the goals that are more long-term such as saving money for a special vacation or lifestyle changes (becoming more active, eating less junk food).
- Resolutions don't all have to be long-term, overly ambitious goals that take months or the entire year to achieve - instead, a resolution could be as simple as taking a weekly family walk for a bit of extra exercise.
- Limit your list to a manageable number of goals. This will ensure that the items that made the final cut are considered the most meaningful.
- From PBS.org: "The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends resolutions that focus on cleaning up toys, brushing teeth, washing hands, and being kind to pets. However, parents who consider these behaviors part of their regular expectations may want to provide resolutions that focus on higher goals." Help your child create age-appropriate goals such as "always wearing a helmet when riding on my bike," "always placing my dirty dishes in the sink," and "keeping my room clean."
- Be a good role model in order to help your child achieve their goals and ask him or her to help you stay accountable as well.
- When someone in the family achieves one of their resolution goals, be sure to recognize the achievement. Children can be thrilled with their accomplishment, especially when it is acknowledged by a parent.
- At the end of the year, if a resolution or goal was not achieved, focus on the progress towards the goal and those that were attained.
Picture from DrKateRoberts.com