New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing. They only work if you actually remember them and keep at it. While many adults can try and keep their resolutions, it can be harder for kids to remember to do so or even be willing to make “resolutions”. If you ask any child what their New Year’s resolutions will be, they’ll most likely stare at you like you’ve grown a second head. But making some kind of resolution or goal is a very wise task for children. I like to call it a goal because it puts more of a positive spin to the task or tasks that you set for them.
Every person, whether young or old, should make improvements to their lives. There will always be obstacles or hindrances that enter our lives but teaching children to make goals that are reachable can benefit them in the long term. Children learn about perseverance, responsibility, and determination to complete a task. And they can learn through failure and limitations that will push them to try harder and be better.
If you have a child that hesitates to try something new or doesn’t have a lot of incentive, then have them write down 5 things that they hope to achieve in the new year. It could be anything from learning to ride a skateboard to reading 20 books by the end of the year. Set tasks that are within their age range and ability and then choose the top 2 from their list. Below I’ve included 10 ways of helping children achieve their New Year’s goals.
10 Ways for Getting Your Kids to Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions (Goals):
- Make a list of goals that your child would like to achieve. Set these goals within their age range and abilities. Ages 4-7 goals can be learning to ride the bike, learning to write a paragraph, or trying to eat 2 new vegetables or fruits. Ages 5-8 goals can be learning to write their names in cursive, reading 2 extra books to what they are currently reading, or starting a vegetable garden in the yard. Ages 9-12 can be learning to write a story on a topic of their own choice, learning a new sport or advancing in a current sport, or even getting straight A’s in school.
- Have your child write out the steps he thinks it will take to achieve the goal. Depending on the age, you might need to help him do some research. Talk it over with your child to establish if these steps are realistic and attainable within their limits and time frame.
- Give your child their own calendar and have them write in their goals on the calendar. Select a reasonable schedule for them to work on and eventually accomplish their goal. Have them cross off or mark the date that they completed their goal or task.
- Start small. Taking small steps in the beginning will help set the pace in achieving the goal. For instance, if your child wants to start a vegetable garden, take him to a garden center to get him acquainted with the type of plants and what is seasonal. Show him the different types of plants that are easier to grow for beginners and have him select a few on his own.
- Get literature or books on the specific goal. For instance, if it’s learning how to grow a vegetable plant, get books or print out online articles with valuable pictures on gardening and plants. Visuals will help your child establish what the garden might look like once it’s established. If your child wants to improve his basketball skills, buy books from a famous or a favorite basketball player.
- Encourage your child every step of the way. Sometimes your child will falter and want to stop altogether while other times he just wants to go full steam ahead! Show your child that the goal he’s trying to achieve can be attainable through dedication and hard work and that if he fails a bit then it’s a learning process. If your child wants to give up completely, remind him that he should do his very best and break through the challenges before he decides to call it quits.
- Reward your child’s effort but don’t overindulge on the praise. Just like you don’t want to put too much attention on a failure nor should you overdo the praise. Your child should learn that hard work in itself, is an instant reward.
- Find a mentor outside of the family. It could be a friend, a teacher, a coach, or a professional in that particular field of interest. Have your child meet with the mentor in the beginning if it’s possible and throughout the entire time of his goal-setting. Sometimes speaking with another person that’s not in the family can help your child see a different perspective in reaching their goal.
- Let your child know that it’s okay to take some breaks in between goal-achieving days. Kids can get burned out much quicker than adults and when frustration sets in, children tend to want to stop whatever they’re doing. The trick isn’t to force them to practice or study every single day but to encourage them to practice and work harder with mindfulness.
- Help your child share his goal achievements or progress with either a video documentary or with photos. This can also help your child look back at these documentaries should he decide to set a new goal after the current one has been achieved.
For more goal-achieving tips, check out these websites:
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