Love 'em or hate 'em, this is the time when people often decide to make resolutions to work on making changes in their lives. Even though children may be oblivious to this tradition, it is a great opportunity to teach them how they can make positive improvements — for themselves, for the family, and for the household. Consider using the beginning of 2015 as the season to start new habits that will help your children gain independence, confidence, and good, lifelong habits.

1. Offer Choices

As the parent, you can maintain some control over the changes or improvements you would like to see your children make, but it is a good idea to let them either come up with one or two ideas of their own, in addition to offering a couple of choices.

2. Use the New Year to Help Them Work on Independence

Perhaps your young toddler or preschooler needs to learn to tie his shoes on his own or fold his socks together. Maybe your elementary school child needs to keep track of her own spending and saving. Perhaps your teenagers need to become entirely responsible for completing their school assignments and scheduling of extra-curricular activities. Regardless of age, there is an opportunity for any child to improve their self-help skills.

3. Come Up With at Least One Family Resolution

Is the whole family struggling with paper clutter? Come up with a system that works for everyone, or a system that works for individuals, then make time once a week for all family members to go through their own stack and clear the house of unneeded papers.

4. Help Them Organize

A sticker chart is generally appropriate for a 3- to 6-year-old, while older kids may need to use their own calendar, to-do list, or chart. Determine what works for each child, and change things up if the system is not working.

5. Make Sure You Have Your Own Resolutions

Try not to play the "don't do what I do, do what I say" game with this. Set the example.

6. Celebrate Success Regularly

If the whole family — or just individual members — are successful for a few weeks on their own resolutions, celebrate! Enjoy a night out together or a night in playing games or watching movies. Let the children offer ideas for their own rewards (with your approval, of course).

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a terrific list of specific suggestions, sorted by age, of "21 Healthy New Year's Resolutions For Kids." Ideas include cleaning up toys, replacing soft drinks and fruit drinks with milk and water, volunteering in the community, wearing helmets when bicycling, and not texting while driving.

More Reading: