Kids love to think into the future: what they want for their birthday (even if it’s months away!), what they want to be when they grow up, and how exciting it will be when they can drive a car. Making New Year’s resolutions can be fun for kids, but holding them to it might take some help.
If there’s a healthy habit you want the family to adopt, go ahead and make New Year’s resolutions together with your kids. You can hold each other accountable and help each other out along the way. Besides, making family resolutions that you can do together makes the goal more exciting and less of a chore – for both parents and children.
Making Meaningful Resolutions
We may start the year with good intentions, so why is it that more than 80% of New Year’s resolutions get abandoned over time?
One major reason is that the goal is too broad and hard to measure. You need to know not just what you want to change, but also some steps you need to take in order to get there.
For example, maybe your kids realize they should contribute more to the household chores. Their resolution might be:
- I will help around the house.
Make it better by adding the word “by”:
- I will help around the house by setting the table for dinner.
Strengthen that resolution even more by making it measurable and attainable:
- I will help around the house by setting the table for dinner at least three times per week.
Try not to make it too rigid (I will help around the house by setting the table for dinner every day), since the first slip-up might make you want to throw up your hands and forget it. (And there will be slip-ups – we’re all human!)
Family Resolutions to Make Together
Not all resolutions need to be something the kids need to do. Why not set goals together that the whole family can tackle together? Here are some fun ideas that help support overall health and happiness – because who doesn’t want more of that in the new year?!?
Be more active. Getting the heart pumping and body moving has benefits beyond cardiovascular health – it can also help support the immune system. Weekends are good for family activities to do together. Some ideas include trying a new hiking trail each month or signing up for a sports team that your child can play and you can coach.
Find a volunteer opportunity. It doesn’t just feel good to give back – kids who volunteer are more likely to do better in school. A volunteer project is a great activity to do as a family. Ask your kids which cause they want to support and find a service opportunity in your area.
Cook at home more. With busy after-school activities and evening meetings, it’s easy to lean on takeout or heat-and-eat meals from the grocery store. Make a commitment to your family’s health and spend more time together by finding a meal you can cook together with your kids. Pore over cookbooks or recipe websites as a family, shop for ingredients and put it all together…together! Before you know it, it can become a regular habit.
Establish DEAR reading habits. If you’re frustrated by the amount of time your children spend in front of their screens (and maybe yourself, too!), make it a family commitment to incorporate more reading time into the day. Studies show that reading for just 20 minutes per day helps children build vocabulary and may even help them be more empathetic.
Make reading fun by holding a certain time of day very DEAR: 20 or 30 minutes when you Drop Everything And Read. You can each pull out your own books or magazines for quiet time or read a book together as a family. If sitting still is hard for the littler ones, listen to an audiobook together, one chapter a day.
Give warm greetings and farewells. In her book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin details how making a point of giving genuine, face-to-face hellos and goodbyes to family members each day has a profound effect on the household. Make a resolution to try this for one week in your family and see how it goes.
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