I heard somewhere, “the days are long and the years are short.” Well said as the New Year fast approaches. So it is time to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for 2012. And, adults are not the only ones that can benefit from New Year’s Resolutions. Kids can too.
You can help your kids, even preschoolers, make their resolutions and encourage them to follow them through the year. It may also help you keep on track with your own resolutions as you encourage each other.
Helping your child create New Year’s Resolutions is a lesson in teaching them the skill of setting goals and reaching those goals. To get started, discuss what a resolution means and how it can make them improve the New Year. A resolution is a promise that you make to yourself. If that promise is kept, it makes you feel good.
Share your own resolutions with your children and talk through things they would like to improve or ways they could be healthier. Be sure that they set realistic resolutions so that they are not too hard to attain. Evaluate the resolutions regularly with your child. If they have a setback, start fresh and break the resolution into steps to help them attain success more often. The best resolutions are those that are truly reachable and appropriate for the child in terms of time frame.
Celebrate the successes. If your child reaches a goal or their resolution, make a big deal and celebrate in a special way. Congratulate them. And for that matter, if you reach your goal, share this with your children and have them celebrate with you.
To help you get started here are 20 healthy New Year’s Resolutions that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended for kids.
- I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
- I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
- I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
Kids, 5- to 12-years-old
- I will drink milk and water three times each day, and limit soda and fruit drinks to once each day.
- I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
- I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
- I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
- I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
- I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school
- I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.
Kids, 13-years-old and up
- I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink to one glass daily.
- I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
- I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
- I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
- When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
- When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
- When I notice my friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
- I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence. I will expect the same good behavior in return.
- I will resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.
- I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.
Good luck and have fun with your family setting and achieving your resolutions. And of course, Happy New Year!