The end of the year is a good time to reflect on all that we've accomplished in the previous 12 months and to take stock of what we'd like to improve upon over the next 12. As we make our own resolutions for the coming year, it might be beneficial for our children to do the same.
Certainly, they might have some facets of their lives that they'd like to work on and the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to focus their efforts.
It will also give them a feeling of inclusion if they see you making resolutions, working to stick to them and succeeding. Your success will likely make them more determined to follow through.
Here are some tips to help your kids make valuable goals and work to attain them.
1. The Idea Is Theirs
Sure, we might want our kids to clean their rooms, focus more on their homework, or spend less time in front of a device. But this isn't your resolution. It belongs to your kids. Begin a conversation with them about resolutions, what they are and what goals you're trying to reach. That should spur a discussion about a resolution that they might want to try. Ask them questions to get them started on an idea, like "What is something that you'd like to improve upon or be better at?"
2. Focus Their Idea
Your child might have an idea that is overly broad and wholly unattainable. Your job is focus it down to something manageable and realistic. Remember that most of us fail to maintain our resolutions, so the more specific, the better. Their idea might be something easy — "I want to clean my room more often" or "I want to spend more time outside." Those goals will be easy to track and attain. A resolution like "I want to help the poor" is certainly worthy and doable but will take more work on your part to narrow it down, making it easier to implement and reach.
3. Put It Into Practice
Many of us need a little motivation or guidance to put our resolutions into practice. Help your children devise a plan of attack to reach their goal or to stick with a resolution. Explain to them that they may want to find a similar time each day to work on cleaning their room or getting exercise. They need to know that consistency requires discipline. If their goal is something broader — like being kinder to a sibling — you can give them encouragement and ideas on how to accomplish it.
4. Track It
There might be an opportunity to build a chart and create a timeline of how often they are choosing to play outside or read a book rather than focusing their eyes on a video game. The important thing is for you to ask them how they're doing on their resolution without harping on them. If they feel undue pressure it will make them less determined to follow through.
5. Deal With Failure
The majority of us fail at our resolutions. If you explain this to your kids at the outset, it will be easier for them to deal with it if it happens. It is also critical to remind them that even if they fall short, there is plenty of time to regroup and start again. It might be that the initial resolution was unrealistic and it needs to scaled back. Trial and error is the only way to find that out and simply making the effort is worth a lot.
This is perfect time to make a connection with our kids and to help them to see that life is about being introspective, taking a look at who we are and trying to change for the positive. Making resolutions and working towards them is a wonderful opportunity to put that into motion at an early age.