Helping your Child Make & Keep New Year’s Resolutions
Parents of this generation are well-versed with the practice of making New Year’s resolutions, and are equally aware of their ineffectiveness. That is probably why they forget to help their children make New Year’s resolutions and live up to them. This can, however, be a very fruitful exercise which can lead to the development of a better lifestyle, better habits and improved perspective towards life in a child. And so, parents should remember to help their kids make New Year’s resolutions.
With the New Year just around the corner, parents are usually frazzled about the holiday activity, gifts to buy and parties to attend. What they tend to forget, is in fact, a very important year-end activity – making New Year’s resolutions.
Ways to Help your Kid make Resolutions
1. Lead by example
Children learn to make realizable resolutions by seeing their parents do so first. Thus, set an example for your child by making specific and concrete resolutions yourself. If your child sees you successfully making lifestyle changes, he will be motivated to try it out for himself.
2. Make it a family activity
When you finally get around to making New Year’s resolutions, make sure that it is perceived as a family activity by your child and not just another house rule imposed on them. By making your resolutions together, you and your child can share common goals. You can also get to know about each other’s aspirations and interests.
3. Remember past successes and forget failures
Make sure to commend the progress made or success achieved on previous year’s resolutions. This will serve as a reminder to your child that good behavior will not go unnoticed and motivate him to further improve himself. However, consciously try to forget his failures or help him find a way to realize those goals in the next year’s resolutions.
4. Don’t decide your child’s resolutions yourself
Don’t try to hasten the process by forcing your own goals or resolutions onto your child. As a parent, your responsibility is to encourage your kid to make his own decisions and not make it for him. If your kid is coming up with generic resolutions or goals, which are not morally correct, then guide him by rectifying his errors. But don’t decide his resolutions for him.
5. Define realistic and specific resolutions
This may be the toughest challenge in making New Year’s resolutions, but if you really want your kid to succeed at living up to those resolutions, you must ensure they are realistic and specific. A resolution like ‘I will behave better’ is much easier to forget than ‘I will clean my room every day’. Specific resolutions will also help your child realize his own behavioral limitations and define what he really wants to achieve by a resolution.
Ways to Help your Kid Live up to those Resolutions
- Motivate, don’t nag: Resolutions are not meant to be completed on the first day of the New Year itself. They are a long-term commitment, and your child will need all your support in realizing them. Thus, hard as it may be, try not to nag. Remind him of his resolutions in a positively motivating manner and guide him as to how he can achieve his goals. Your positive attitude can have a massive spill-over and engulf your child in positive energy as well.
- Patiently allow for the new habits to form: Change in behavior is a slow process and must be given time. If your child makes a 5% change in the first week, don’t worry. Slowly but steadily, good behaviour and habits can be built over a year to realize his resolutions.
- Track the progress and applaud success: Make sure to track your child’s progress and praise or applaud his success on a regular basis. You may even build in some rewards for your child if his resolution requires extra mental and physical effort at self-improvement.
By making New Year’s resolutions a family ritual, you can add more meaning to the beginning of a New Year. It may be a small gesture for you, but your child will certainly learn a life session from it and emulate it for years to come. Also, in doing so, you are making your life easy too. After all, a resolution will almost always result in the development of positive behaviour and good habits in your child, making you a happy parent in the New Year.