The New Year ushers in new challenges, new adventures and even a fresh start. Maybe last year was filled with hardship or maybe it was just so busy that everyone was just in ‘go’ mode. Perhaps parents are looking back at the previous year and thinking about what they wished they would have done.
Stop wondering. This is another New Year, and if it’s time to make changes then make them. New Year’s resolutions are often personal, but they can be a team effort, too. Making New Year’s resolutions with your child is a great way to set goals for the year and even bond as a family.
Children can set their own resolutions, but Parent’s magazine points out that parents should be good models, they also shouldn’t force their child to make a particular resolution and those goals shouldn’t be negatively focused. Kids learn from what they see, and they also won’t want to stick to a resolution that they were forced to make. After all, resolutions need to be motivating!
There are two ways that parents can handle resolutions: children can make their own or the family can make a group resolution. Here are ideas for both approaches.
The Family Resolution
A family resolution is a great way to bond and also take a team approach to making positive changes. This resolution needs to be decided as a family, though. Parents can’t just dictate a specific resolution and expect that kids will excitedly jump on the bandwagon.
For a family resolution, hold a family meeting. Get everyone together and tell children that to celebrate the New Year, the family will make a resolution together. Everyone needs to participate, and parents can ask their children for suggestions on what the family should resolve to change for the year.
Parents also should bring their own suggestions. Ideas for a family resolution include:
The Washington Post reports that the United States is very much behind the rest of the world in multilingual ability; only 20 percent of Americans know how to speak two or more languages versus more than half of those living in Europe.
Make 2022 the year the family becomes bilingual. Learning a language isn’t as hard as many might assume, but it does take dedication and practice. Sign up for a foreign language class online. Take a vote among family members regarding what language everyone wants to learn.
Less Screen Time
Children stare at screens seemingly all day, as many schools utilize 1:1 computing. Class assignments are completed on computers; textbooks may be virtual, too. After school, many kids communicate with friends via smartphones. Of course, television is still a household staple, even if it now streams shows instead of hooking into cable.
Parents, though, aren’t guiltless when it comes to those screens. Many parents spend just as much time on their phones or other devices as their children. In fact, Statista reported that half of U.S adults eyeball those screens for the duration of the day if not the almost entire waking day.
Families may worry that screens are replacing real time interactions. Make a resolution to limit screen time. Set a screen time limit for the day, and everyone should try to keep other family members accountable.
Just be sure that limitations are reasonable; remember many children will use computers throughout their school day.
Eat More Dinners Together
Families are incredibly busy. Sometimes visits to the drive-thru take the place of dinners at the table. There could be tutoring sessions, sports practices, dance recitals and other events that keep the family rushing around during the week.
Make a resolution to eat a few dinners together at the table as a family, and make sure everyone ditches their gadgets and phones. No texting, and no interruptions.
Those dinners of hamburgers and French fries, tacos and roast beef and cheddar sandwiches that are quick drive-thru meals also are packed with fat, salt and lots of calories. Microwave meals and those in packages also aren’t so great, even though they are convenient.
Families can make a resolution to eat healthier for the New Year. This could mean making more dinners at home, eating more vegetables or maybe even ditching red meat.
New Year’s Resolutions for Children
Children may prefer to make their own New Year’s resolutions. Remember, parents can make suggestions but they shouldn’t strong-arm a child to make a particular resolution.
Children may know exactly what they want to change in 2022, or they may need a bit of guidance to make a resolution. Here are some suggestions for children of all ages:
This could be related to keeping their school subjects filed in certain folders, organizing their locker weekly or just keeping their room clean.
Enjoy More Outdoor Physical Activities
Some children are still enjoying daily or weekly physical education classes. Other children might have minimal exposure to exercise. Getting healthier or exercising more doesn’t have to be a strenuous resolution. Children and parents can aim to take a daily walk. Parents also could sign children up for a sport.
Woman’s Day recommends this resolution for younger children (ages 3 to 5). Children can resolve to at least try the new food (one nibble). This can help them find new tastes they love.
Not Fighting with Siblings
Siblings don’t always agree, and sometimes they will absolutely drive each other bonkers. Children can resolve to try to fight with siblings less.
Woman’s Day recommends this for tweens. While brushing and flossing twice a day is recommended, there are many children and adults who don’t heed this advice. This is a great and fairly easy resolution for older children and it will help those teeth and gums stay healthier!
This was a Woman’s Day recommendation for teens, but it can be a great resolution for all ages. Teens can swap out favorite drinks for water. To help them stay on task, parents also might give them a cool refillable water bottle.
Learn a New Skill
Teens and tweens might enjoy resolving to learn a new skill like sewing, knitting or maybe cooking. Encourage them to find a new hobby that aligns with their interests or let them discover a new hobby that they just think is cool. Maybe they really want to learn how to paint a portrait or play the guitar.
Read More Books
With the screens taking up so much time, sometimes reading takes a back seat. Most children have a nightly assignment to read anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. They can make a resolution to read more than this and maybe set other reading goals, too.
For families who haven’t made their New Year’s resolution, make one today and encourage children to make a resolution, too. Families may even opt for a family resolution that benefits everyone—eat dinner together, unplug, make healthier choices or learn a new language.
If children want to make their own resolutions, parents can help them come up with ideas but they shouldn’t force a resolution on a child. Keep the resolution a positive experience, and encourage children to set goals that help them make positive improvements. They can brush/floss more, learn a new hobby or get outside to enjoy more physical activity.
Resolve to make the New Year better while working on self-improvement, self-care and family happiness!