Starting the new year with resolutions? Make it a family affair!

There is a good chance that before the clock struck midnight on December 31st you considered a few New Year’s resolutions. But should you talk to your children about their resolutions? The answer is yes. Talking to your child about realistic New Year’s resolutions can help them with setting and achieving goals, which are important milestones on the way to becoming a healthy adult. 

Here are some tips on how to talk with your kids about resolutions for a productive and positive 2019. 

Make Resolutions a Family Activity

The best way to teach your children the importance of New Year’s resolutions is by making it part of your family traditions. Sit down each December and talk about the past year, review your accomplishments and goals, as individuals and as a family. Talk about what worked, what didn’t.  Allow each family member a turn to share something they are proud of and something they want to improve. Having parents go first will help to guide the conversation. If your child is old enough to write, he or she can write down their accomplishments and goals, you can help younger children write theirs. 

Different Resolutions for Different Ages

What resolution is right for your child depends on your child. It is important to guide your child to come up with a resolution that not only means something to them but also positively impacts their physical or emotional health. As your child ages, he/she can be more active in coming up with goals, which will mean more to him/her when achieving them.

Serve as a Role Model

No matter how old your child is, he or she is more likely to understand the value of goal setting if you take the lead. Children watch what their parents do. When your resolutions include activities related to good mental and physical health, it is likely your child’s resolution will reflect those good behaviors. 

Think of how you can include your child in your resolution. “I’m going to eat more vegetables this this year, because veggies are good for me. Do you want to join me?” If you are finding yourself always on your phone 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?”

Rewards Are Long Lasting

We all know the feeling of meeting a goal, whether it be losing five pounds, or putting in extra hours at work to get that promotion. Children also mentally benefit by accomplishing a goal. Review your family’s list of resolutions each month or quarter and take time to acknowledge the successes, along with reinforcing the resolutions that need more attention. Recognizing your child’s success will help improve their self-esteem and reinforce positive behaviors they can work into being a healthy adult.

When you sit down to review resolutions, this is not time for punishment. It’s important to be flexible and understanding, especially if the child is making the effort. 

However, your family deals with New Year’s resolutions, the best part is that you’re doing it together and providing your children with guidance on how to set and achieve goals.