As 2016 draws to a close, it’s a perfect time for families to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Working with your kids to set goals and stick with them will reinforce positive behavior all year long. Utilize these simple tips to put your family on the path to a healthy and happy 2017!
Choose age-appropriate resolutions
Children as young as preschoolers can benefit from setting a resolution, as long as it is attainable and appropriate for their age group. Resolving to put away their toys and brush their teeth are perfect places to start. For older children and teens, focus on healthy eating choices, being kind to others, and resisting peer pressure.
However, be careful not to dictate their exact resolutions. Kids are more likely to stick with things they choose on their own, and it’s a great lesson in taking responsibility for their decisions.
Be honest about challenges
A positive attitude is key to sustaining long-term behavior changes. No matter how strong your willpower, odds are that you are not going to be perfect about keeping your resolution all year long — and neither will your kids.
Share your own struggles and let them know that it’s okay to divert or adjust their resolution every now and then.
Set family resolutions
In addition to helping your children choose resolutions, setting goals as a family is a fun way to ensure everyone stays motivated. Commit to a weekly game night, save for a summer vacation, or call grandparents more often — the possibilities are endless.
Remind them that change doesn’t happen overnight
This one is tough for a generation that has grown up with instant gratification. Encourage your kids to take small steps toward their goals and provide positive reinforcement when they succeed in doing so.
This Turtle Tracker worksheet provides an easy way to monitor progress. Hang it on the refrigerator or another family gathering place to help keep everyone on track throughout the year.