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Making New Year's Resolutions with Kids

We're twelve days into the new year - how are your resolutions going? I actually didn't do any formal resolutions this year. Some years I've chosen a "word" (or more than one word) that will help to define my path for the year, but this year I'm just going with the flow.

What I have taken time to do is sit down with my family and map out some resolutions for all of us. I thought I'd share some ideas related to kids' resolutions, and the ways we can support our kids and guide them through the process.

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Let your child guide YOU

Sure, you're there to point out resolutions that may not be realistic or attainable. But if your child is old enough (7+ is probably a good age) then they can ultimately decide their own resolutions with a little bit of input from you.

Don't make any resolutions you know you can't keep

Keep things down to earth and simple. For instance, if you are a family that allows a healthy amount of screen time, resolving to cut out all screen time with your child will probably fail. Instead, why not chat about "no screen weeks" and schedule several over the entire year?

Making family resolutions

Your child may express a desire for an individual resolution, but it's also fun to do resolutions as an entire family. Sit down to a family meeting, and map out your life - what seems to be working? What's not working? What kind of resolutions may help to solve the problems you are facing?

For example, mornings are always tough here in our house, as I'm alone with both my kids. We've made a resolution to help each other out more - my girls are pitching in with lunches at nighttime, and I'm setting aside time in the morning to have 5-10 minutes of snuggles before we all face the day.

Avoid resolutions that have to do with food

You may have your own healthy resolutions that you want to make, and that's great. It's super important that we chat with our children about healthy food choices and what nourishes our body. But avoid making any restrictive types of food resolutions with your child - this is especially important for girls ages 8-12 years. Those pre-pubescent years are a tricky time for girls (and boys) and dieting or cutting out certain foods (a.k.a "junk food") may be setting your child up for some challenges.

If you're really keen on working with food and resolutions, consider something fun. For example, make a resolution that the whole family has to try ONE new food each week. Make a list of possibilities and have your child visit the grocery store with you to purchase the new food. Or make a resolution that you will have a super fancy homemade dessert one day each week - cook or bake together in the kitchen and teach your child that ALL foods have a place in our lives!

Use a visual representation for your resolutions

Grab all those old magazines, and have your kids make a collage  - ask them to cut out images that really speak to them and help them think about the things they want to accomplish. 

Follow-up on your goals

As with our own personal resolutions, it's good to continue to check in on your kids' or family's resolutions and:

1) see what we have accomplished; and/or

2) where we need to keep working

Regular family meetings a great way to check-in. You could do this weekly, monthly or even quarterly! Having a meeting that coincides with the changing of the seasons is also a great way to create meaningful ritual in your family life.

Does your child have any resolutions? Share what has worked for them in the comments!