Resolutions for kids

Most families don't make resolutions for kids, instead focusing on their own goals for the coming year. Thinking mindfully, deliberately and consciously about our own lives is a habit—a gift!--that we can give our children. It does not come naturally, even to adults, so it's a learned behavior that you can start cultivate and instill this year.

There are many annual rituals and routines rituals and routines that you can do together as a family, and making resolutions for kids is a great place to start. This can happen at any time of year, but January is a logical time for contemplation. Start by calling a family meeting to review the year. You might begin a family journal to write down the highlights of the previous year month by month. If you have photographs you could even create a family scrap book in this way. Recall what you did the previous holiday season, during the previous birthday, the previous summer, etc. As adults we may not realize how easy it is for youngsters to forget what has happened in their short lives.

Talk as a family about each person's strengths. This is a great opportunity to praise what is unique and special about each person in the family and can actually be a powerful ritual. Genuine respect and praise for members of the family feeds a person's self concept.

Next, encourage each person to identify some goals. These can be learning goals, athletic goals, musical goals, behavior goals, organization goals, etc. Two important things in this part of the meeting are

1. Don't make goals for other people—let them come from each person
Even as adults, it doesn't feel great to have other people identify weaknesses: “You know, you should really improve....” A more effective approach is to let the child choose their own goals.

2. Adults identify goals as well
Participation from everyone in the family illuminates the idea that this is merely not a “kid activity.” On the contrary, if you equate this self awareness and goal setting with maturity the kids will be more likely to take it seriously and actually do it (and mean it).

Setting resolutions for kids can be a powerful ritual. Get started this year and encourage your kids to think critically about what kind of person they want to be, and how they can get there. Have fun!

Go to Routines for Kids
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