I haven’t always done new year resolutions, but now that I have a husband and child, it’s important to me that we talk about our goals as a family. We have started a tradition of establishing them on New Year’s Eve while reflecting on our growth over the previous year. We sit down and go through each person’s individual goals for the new year and then our goals as a family. We write them down in different colors and make it a fun creative activity. We usually post them somewhere in the house where we can be reminded of them on a regular basis. I like to hang them on the inside of our pantry door because we can see them every day.
The new year provides a good opportunity for talking about family goals because most people are already in the mindset of evaluating where they are in life. It creates communication and strengthens the family bond. When children are young, it’s helpful to set goals for them, such as potty training or learning to brush teeth. As parents, you can support your children towards achieving these goals by encouraging daily practice of them. When children get older, they can start developing their own goals, which also means they are more likely to achieve them.
We all know that meeting our goals can feel great! This is the same for our kids. Take the time to acknowledge your family’s accomplishments. Remembering goals throughout the year keeps you on track, and helps you see how much has been accomplished. Children also benefit from parents giving them praise which improves their self esteem. In turn, this increases their motivation to continue reaching their goals. They can be reviewed quarterly, monthly, or however often you like.
When setting goals, make sure they are measurable and achievable. This increases the chances of accomplishing them. For example, you may set a goal of eating dinner together as a family every night. In order for this to be more specific, you might eat dinner together at the table 3 nights during the week. This gives some flexibility for the days you eat together but it also allows you to determine whether or not you have achieved your goal. You can also use stickers to track goals for kids. This allows them to see their daily or weekly progress while keeping them motivated.
These are some ideas for resolutions:
Improve Diet: Drink more milk or water, eat more vegetables, or cook dinner together one night a week. You can even serve as a role model and ask the child to join you in achieving the goal. For example, “I am going to drink more water every day because it’s healthy. Do you want to join me?”
Stay Active: Go on family walks daily, play time outside for 30 minutes daily, or have kids find a sport they like and play it 3 times a week.
Daily Chores: Little kids can start to put dirty clothes in a laundry hamper, or start putting dirty dishes in the sink. Older kids might be able to commit to 10 minutes daily of cleaning up their room.
Increase Communication: Younger children in preschool can set goals for being helpers by saying “ I will help out more when Mommy and Daddy ask me.” Other goals may be to play a game together 2 times a week, or read a book together and take turns reading. Older kids might be nice to other kids who are shy or or new to school.
Community Involvement: You may set a goal to volunteer together as a family one time a month, go to a place of faith or worship as a family weekly, or attend weekly events at your local library or museum to learn and make new friends.
Remember, setting goals is about bringing you together as a family. It can be done anytime of year, not just New Years. So have fun and be creative!