Keep that resolve!

Time Out Kids speaks to parent educator Therese Sequeira from KidsFirst to see what we can do to make those resolutions really stick


What's a good number of resolutions to have?
Keep it realistic. Some older children might be able to set a few (two or three) new year’s resolutions, whereas younger children might set one or two resolutions.

Do you think they really work?
Whether or not the resolutions work in the long term might not be as important as making them in the first place. The process of reflection and goal setting are important skills that will benefit children as they grow into adults.

Any suggestions for helping my child make them?
Setting a new year’s resolution is simply about setting goals for the year ahead. Sit down with your child and talk about the things they do well and are proud of. Continue the discussion so that the child is thinking about things they want to be able to do in the coming year. This could include specific things (such as riding a bike without training wheels, dressing or feeding themself independently, reading more books, doing their homework by themself), or be more general (being kind to siblings, helping out around the house, working harder at school, eating healthy food). Parents need to be careful not to tell children what their resolutions should be and let the children decide their resolutions for themselves.

What about sticking to them?
• Sometimes writing down a goal and sticking it in a place where it will be looked at regularly (on a wall, fridge or mirror) may help people work at achieving the resolution.

• Families might decide to keep each other motivated by chatting about how each person is going with their resolutions once a month.

• Sometimes it can be beneficial to break down a big goal into smaller steps and perhaps map this out over a period of time. Children might feel more motivated to continue working on their resolution when they can ‘tick off’ a few of the steps that will help them get there.

• Praise your children when you see them working at their resolution! Let them feel successful so continue to give them positive feedback.

• Be careful not to ‘supervise’ or ‘nag’ your child as they work at achieving their resolution – it’s their goal and they will achieve it in their own time.

Any suggestions for alternative resolutions?
As a family, you might like to choose a value that you will all work on for the year – such as tolerance, patience or kindness. Parents can lead this through their own example setting.

Children might like to choose a resolution in which they are helping others, too, such as raising funds for a charity; giving unwanted toys to children who may appreciate them; helping out new kids who join their class during the school year; or cooking a family meal once a week.

What New Year’s resolutions do you think parents should set for themselves?
Some parenting resolutions might include:
• To be as patient with their kids as possible!

• To be available to their children rather than constantly making them wait.

• To be interested in their children’s lives, including activities, school and friends.

• To have more fun as a family than last year!

• To take the time to talk to their kids.

• To get together at least once a week as a whole family.

• To stick to an agreed discipline plan.

• To let the children be more independent, which means parents need to let the kids do more for themselves.

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