New Year’s Resolutions for the Whole Family: Tips to Help Your Child Set Their Own Goals for 2019

little boy with a festive hood, near a Christmas tree

New Year’s Day is the traditional time to celebrate new beginnings and take on challenges. According to child psychologists, kids ages 7–12 are at the ideal stage to learn some resolution-setting habits. Making resolutions with your children can be both fun and exciting and an excellent opportunity for family bonding. Here are some tips on how to ensure that their New Year’s goal setting is a positive experience and ways to help them keep in touch with their goals all year long.

FOCUS ON THE GOOD. Start by helping your child focus on all the positive things they accomplished last year rather than pointing out their potential shortcomings. In this way, you are cataloging their successes in 2018. The next step is the actual goal-setting process. Should you make resolutions for your kid? Most experts say no; they instead encourage parents to guide children toward creating their own goals by offering a few broad categories. Personal goals, friendship goals, and school goals are a great place to start.

MAKE SPECIFIC GOALS WITH SMALL CHECK-INS. According to Dr. Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness, turning a good intention into a habit is one of the most important skills parents can teach their kids. She claims that it takes six weeks to create habits. By helping your children make specific goals and then periodically checking in for progress (rather than total success), you will help them achieve what they set out to do.

BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL. As parents, it’s important to practice what you preach. Before you help your children map out their own resolutions, you should start modeling the process for them using your own goals for 2019. Allow them to watch you take stock of the last year and commemorate your own success — it’s important for them to see you feel good about yourself, and you deserve to as well! Then let them in on your own resolution-setting process. This will help them brainstorm ideas for their list.


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