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Practical ways to help children make resolutions for the new year

New Year’s Resolutions give children something to focus on

New Year’s Resolutions give children something to focus on

Published Jan 6, 2022


A NEW Year’s Resolution should be a low-stress, celebratory, and fun way to help children learn how to set goals. It gets children to think about skills being things they can actually learn to do.

Children from the ages of 7 to 12 are at the ideal stage to learn to make resolutions, an expert says.

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“They're still young enough that their habits are not firm,” says Christine Carter, PhD, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, and a teacher for an online class on helping children develop happiness habits.

Making resolutions with your children can be fun and exciting, a time for growth and change, and an opportunity for family bonding. Below are tips on how to make New Year’s resolutions for children as suggested by

Be resolution role models.

As parents, it’s important to practise what you preach. Bring your own resolutions to the kitchen table.

Keep a positive approach to resolutions.

There’s a celebratory feeling to setting goals on New Year's that doesn't exist at other times of the year. A lot comes from your tone. If you're putting it in a punishing, preachy way, they’ll be turned off.

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Suggest, don't dictate resolutions.

You can guide and suggest general categories for change, help your child clarify goals, and make sure they’re age-appropriate, but children should come up with resolutions themselves. This is how they take ownership of their goals and learn to plan.

Take turtle steps toward big resolutions.

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It’s fine to check in with kids each week and acknowledge how they're doing, but Dr Carter advises against tangible rewards. "You can’t bribe kids into doing this. Once you make it external with rewards, you lose them."

Follow up but don’t nag about resolutions.

Check in periodically with children on how they’re doing. Don’t worry about lapses. Expect them.

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Make New Year’s resolutions a ritual.

When you’re sitting down and sharing resolutions with each other, it makes the family closer. So turn off the electronic devices – no texting – and pay attention to one another.

Encourage goals that are within your children’s reach, so they don’t get discouraged. The important thing is not to end up with too many resolutions.

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