As a licensed school social worker, parents ask me how to make New Year’s resolutions a time for family fun and bonding. Many children want to make New Year’s resolutions. As parents, we are proud that our children want to have a goal and work hard to achieve it. However, children need help and guidance in making a resolution that they can keep. This is a time for parents to sit down with their children and have a bonding activity to help each child think what they want to accomplish this coming year and how they will get there.
Come together as a family
In December, sit down as a family and reflect on the past year, discussing the accomplishments and highlights both individually and as a family unit. Go around the room, each taking a turn saying an accomplishment that happened this past year and something that could be improved next year. You can make both individual and family resolutions. Family resolutions can be as simple as eating dinner together three times a week if you found that during the past year you struggled to have everyone coming together at dinner time.
As a family, create a poster with your resolutions on it. Hang it in a place that the family gathers, such as the kitchen or living room. This will act as a reminder as to what the resolutions are and you can all work to provide support to accomplish them. Family members can use these resolutions to come together to reach this family goal and to help each other accomplish individual goals. It can be a wonderful bonding tool.
Resolutions are a great way for parents to act as a role model in regards to setting and reaching goals. Reaching goals is hard work and requires commitment, dedication, and effort. Since your children know what your resolution is, they will see you working hard at it and will want to be successful in their own goal too. Your resolution can also promote healthy family changes. For example, if your goal is to eat more fruit this year because it is healthy for you, you can ask your child to join you when eating fruit. Your child will be more willing to eat the fruit because they will look at it as an opportunity to help their parent reach their goal.
Make it a lifestyle
The best resolutions are the ones that become part of your lifestyle after the year is over. After a year of working towards your resolution, there is a good chance that this completed goal will now be a new part of your lifestyle. Your children will be proud that they reached their goal and would have learned the valuable tool of how to set goals and achieve them.
Remember, resolutions are a guide for children. The most important thing is not that your child fulfills their resolution, it is that you are coming together as a family to support and help each other try to reach their goal. Keep it fun and incorporate positive rewards and feedback for taking the steps to reach your goal.