Did you know that nearly 80% of all New Year’s resolutions crash and burn by February? If you have little ones around, now is the time to instil in them the importance of setting realistic, achievable goals so they end up carrying them out by the time they are well into adulthood. How? Read on to learn a few simple tricks that set kids up for success and healthier habits that they can always hang on to!
Tip #1-Start Small
A year will feel like an eternity to a small child. But a week is something that they can wrap their head around-maybe even a month for an older school aged child. When the week (or month) is over, decide how your child handled the length of time they worked toward their goal. If you feel they are ready to set another goal and feel they can persevere, extend their deadline by a week or so. Never set a goal longer than 2 months at a time though. They’ll lose interest and will lose focus on what they really want to achieve.
Tip #2-Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate!
Once your week (or month) is up, make a huge deal about any accomplished goals. Do a dance, sing a song, reward your child with a treat or with special moments shared together. Do whatever you need to do to make them feel utterly special and proud! This will motivate them to maintain their goal or accomplish another one! Children aim to please. While you may be proud of their accomplishment, remind them that they should be more proud of themselves!
Tip #3-Be Realistic
If your child struggles in math, it’s not appropriate to aim for a 100% average. If your child is lacking socially, don’t put pressure on them to run for class president (and win). A realistic goal, things they can actually do (and will do), is what needs to happen for them to gain confidence in all aspects of their life.
So, if your child wishes to get a B or better on their next test, or kick the ball a little bit further than they did last gym class; go with it. Remember, it’s your child’s goals-not your goals for them! Let them make what they are working towards personal, yet achievable.
Tip #4-Capture Proud Moments
All children love to see photos of themselves-especially when they are featured in a positive light. Capture your child as they embark on their resolutions and keep these images in a highly visible, shared family space, like the kitchen or family room. This will provide a visual for your child to remain focused but also proud of their accomplishments.
Tip #5-Recognize Set Backs
The only way to grow as an individual, whether you’re a small kid, older child, or even a young adult is to accept setbacks. Recognizing these will help your child persevere, grow, and understand that everything in life doesn’t always work out as desired or planned. But, how you come back from a setback is what matters most.
If your kiddo doesn’t make it to the swim squad, put in some extra time with swimming practice. If they aren’t picked for Student of the Month, talk about how they can work harder to stand out in their classroom. By ignoring challenges and sweeping them under the rug, we teach ourselves (even at a young age); it’s fine to just get by or in some cases to just stop trying.
Break the pattern. Be a positive role model for your child and share all the times that something didn’t work out for you in your own life. This brings comfort and reassurance to little ones, letting them know that they aren’t alone and that no one is perfect!
In conclusion, some parents avoid setting New Year’s resolutions with their kids. They feel like they are setting them up to fail or create too much pressure. Why not change the rationale and focus more on setting them up to succeed? These simple tips and tricks may seem minor, but they have a positive impact and can help bring confidence and pride to children of all ages; helping them start the new year off right!