How to Help Your Kids Make Realistic New Years Resolutions — and Keep Them | 22 Words

Happy 2019! Another year is upon us — another year to make changes, improvements. For many people, the start of the new year is a perfect time to reflect and make a commitment to change. And it makes sense, a new year signifies a clean slate. A time for us to think about how we can improve our lives.

If you're a parent to young children, it's also important for them to not only watch you make goals for the new year but also follow through with them. Kids also like to make resolutions when they see their parents making them. According to Parents online, kids between the ages of 7 to 12 are at an "ideal age" to learn to make resolutions — but more importantly, to stick with them.

If you have children who fall into this age group then continue reading to see how you can help your kids reach their goals for the year.

Kids between the age of 7 to 12 are more independent, thus can benefit from coming up with their own resolutions.

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But if they're having a hard time thinking about a good resolution, step in and assist. This can make for good old quality family time and you can really hear what your child desires. Plus, this is a good age to have these discussions, as those raging teenage hormones haven't kicked in yet, and you can still have a good conversation about realistic expectations.

Make resolutions fun and memorable.

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Just like how the kids love to help you put up the Christmas tree, coming up with resolutions can be fun for them too. You can make it memorable by adding an element of taste, such as baking cinnamon rolls and eating while talking about each other's resolution ideas.

Be a good role model yourself.

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You know how this works, kids are sponges. They learn what they live. If they see Mom and Dad making resolutions (and sticking to them), then they will probably want to mirror that. If you decide you want to exercise more, why not let your kids join you on a run outside, or walk in the park. Kids love to be outdoors and they naturally move more than adults. They're the perfect companion! And better than that, you are teaching them to follow through with a goal.

In fact, you help them by helping yourself.

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It's true. You will be much more successful with your resolutions if you have a good support system. If you allow them to be part of your resolution, it will be fun for them.

And by sticking to your resolution, they will too!

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We are all creatures of habit. And resolutions are essentially habits we teach ourselves. This is good practice to instill in your child and to show them the way.

Make a resolution as a family.

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Most of us are running (literally) out the door in the morning to get to work, school, or the bus on time. But with most things, there is a workaround for this type of behavior. Maybe it would be a wise idea to have everyone wake up 15 minutes earlier to be ready to leave on time. Changes can be hard and take time getting used to. But, if everyone is on the same page, it should make for a better solution.

Do you and your kids eat too much sugar?

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Probably. As Americans, it's just normal to eat more sugar because it's everywhere! But if we're diligent about this, we can figure out ways to cut back. The New Year is the perfect time to set a resolution to cut back on added sugars.

Some resolutions need parental reminders.

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Resolutions can be hard, but they can also be fun! And sometimes, parents need to step in and remind kids about their commitments. For example, if your child made a resolution to read more, you could keep a calendar out and mark the days she reads, so she can clearly see how she is reaching her goal.

Remember to stay positive about resolutions.

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Kids do not respond well to negative authority. They excel at encouragement and praise. If you want your child to reach his goal, then remind him (in a positive tone) how he'll feel after his accomplishment.

Remind your child how far they've come.

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If your child is unsure of what to come up with as a resolution, help her think of all the times she could never do something she really wanted to do — like a cartwheel, for example. It takes practice, it doesn't happen overnight — no success does. And if she can do a cartwheel now, remind her of how long it took her to perfect one. Maybe her new resolution could be mastering the splits or handstand.

It's best to let your kid decide on their own resolution.

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According to Parents online, the experts say that parents should suggest but never dictate a resolution, "This is how they take ownership of their goals and learn to plan."

If your kid's resolution doesn't match your idea of a resolution that is OK.

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The experts say to allow them to take the lead, even if that means you aren't happy about it. It's important to be open-minded and to listen and think of creative ways to help them attain their resolution.

Make sure they aren't making too many resolutions.

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Kids can get overzealous, especially when it comes to making plans. It's important to step in and remind them that one to three resolutions are most realistic.

And speaking of realistic, also make sure their resolution is age appropriate.

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You don't want your kid to set himself up for failure. By making sure his resolution is specific and realistic for his age, he is more likely to succeed.

Let it be fun!

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Adults tend to make resolutions that require a change in diet or exercise and often times seem boring or dry. But for a child, their resolution should be more fun — like learning how to ice skate. After all, if it is fun, they are more likely to achieve their goal.

A resolution is a marathon, not a sprint.

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It's important to teach your child that in order to learn a new skill or a change a behavior, it takes time. And as we all know self-discipline takes willpower.

It takes 6 weeks to master change.

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Parents online say that it takes 6 weeks to create a habit. So with that in mind, your child should start slow — listing one thing she can do each week to reach her goal. Over time, she will progress and start to do more — something known as the "spillover effect."

Do not bribe 'em.

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It's a good idea to stay on top of your child's resolution — to see where they are at, but you should not bribe them into doing the task. Dr. Carter says, "once you make it external with rewards, you lose them."

Know that kids will have off days or weeks.

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Just like adults, kids have off days too. If they aren't in the mood to work on their resolution do not nag them. Rather, be empathetic and allow them the time they need to get back on track.

Make broad resolutions more specific.

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If your child's resolution was to help out around the house more, then you can help her make it more specific by adding that she makes her bed daily and helps fold laundry weekly.

Use a habit tracker.

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Dr. Carter created a "habit tracker" for kids to help them stay on track with their resolution. When kids visually see their progress, they are likely to keep at it. You can even make one yourself. A simple log that keeps track of progress is all you need.

Have them take "turtle steps" towards their goal.

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This is good advice for anyone. We all know how this works, you do too much too fast and you burn out. It's a normal human reaction. And this is why it's important to make sure our kids are aware of this.

Maybe you want to do more together as a family.

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As kids grow, they like to be with their friends more and do things outside of the home. Maybe you can make a resolution as a family to spend one day a week as a family doing something fun, like visiting a museum, going to the movies, or visiting relatives. Something that requires family interaction.

Change in behavior can also be a resolution.

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If you've noticed your child has been back-talking more lately or has a constant chip on his shoulder, maybe you can suggest that he starts the New Year expressing his feelings more and being kinder in general.

Putting a kibosh on sibling rivalry.

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Sibling rivalry is real. A New Year is ample time to remind your kids that they will live together for a while and that they need to learn to live with one another. This is easier said than done, but it can make for a good resolution — and also help your sanity. Obviously, it has to be specific, so you could suggest that he stop and listen to his brother when he is upset instead of pushing or shouting at him. Allowing feelings to be heard is an important skill to master — especially for kids.

Resolutions can be tweaked.

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If your daughter's resolution was to learn how to play piano and she starts taking piano lessons then realizes she hates it, that is OK. Some resolutions sound good until we try them. Encourage her to stick with the lessons for six months. And after that timeframe, if she still dislikes it, she can try something else.

What if their resolutions cost you money?

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If lessons are involved, so is money. And some lessons can cost more than others. Always ensure you can pay for what your child's request is before you commit.

If you can't afford their resolution.

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What if your child's resolution is to learn how to horseback ride and you know you cannot afford to send her for lessons? What to do? Well, you can suggest she picks something else since the finances aren't there OR you can suggest she save some money (from Christmas and her birthday) and once saved, you can send her.

And remember... resolutions do not have to cost money.

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If you are a family on a tight budget do not fret. Teach your kids that resolutions don't have to cost anything! Volunteering time, changing behavior, being a better student are all free of cost!

And remember do not stress about resolutions.

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Keep it light and your kids will, too. Resolutions should not weigh us down. They should give us hope and make us happy so that at the start of each new year we are looking forward to anew!