Thursday, January 12, 2012


Have your kids heard you (or others) talking about New Year’s Resolutions?
Have they asked you about it and what it means?
Should kids be encouraged to set New Year’s Resolutions?

These questions were the topic of a discussion this week.
What’s your opinion?
Here’s mine.

If you read my post Start, Stop, Continue! you know that I am not a huge fan of ‘resolutions’ but I am very much in favor of regular personal evaluation and setting ‘goals’. What does setting a resolution on the first and breaking it by the 15th teach kids?

In comparison, walking a child through the process of setting and working towards a goal helps them develop thinking and reasoning skills and allows them to make choices and decisions and feel success in their efforts.

The process of evaluating their life, deciding where they want to improve, setting a goal, documenting their own progress and working towards that goal can be adapted to children as young as preschoolers. The beginning of the year is a perfect opportunity to teach kids about goals and resolving to be a better person.
So what kinds of goals can improve the lives of kids while teaching them a lesson or two along the way? Here are a few ideas.

  • I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
  • I will brush my teeth twice a day.
  • I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I will be kind and loving towards pets and all animals. I will keep my fingers and face away from their mouths so I don't get bitten.
  • I will drink water three times each day and limit soda to special occasions.
  • I will find a sport or activity that I like and do it at least three times a week.
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding my bike.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car.
  • I will apply sunscreen before I go outside on sunny days, and wear a hat and sunglasses when I won't be in the shade.
  • I will be nice to other kids and friendly to kids who need friends - like someone who is shy or new to my school.
  • I will never give out personal information (including name, address, school name, or phone number) on the Internet.
  • I will never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parents permission.
  • I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day.
  • I will limit the soda I drink to special occasions.
  • I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
  • I will choose nonviolent TV shows and video games and I will spend no more than two hours a day on these activities.
  • I will help others by volunteering in my community - either working with community groups or joining a group that helps the less fortunate.
  •  I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust when faced with a difficult situation.
  • I will take a break when I feel angry or stressed out and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as writing in a journal, exercising, reading or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
  • I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help friends if I notice they are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors.
  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence. I will expect the same good behavior in return.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try drugs or alcohol.
  • I will not use a cell phone or text message while driving, and I will always wear a seat belt.
Have you talked with your kids about goals or resolutions? What other goals have your kids set? Do you have a differing opinion?

Some goals listed above courtesy of American Academy of Pediatrics.

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