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How Kids Can Benefit From Setting New Year's Resolutions

Female high school student studying

New Year’s resolutions are a time-tested tradition, but we may not consider the benefits this practice can offer to our children. Making New Year’s resolutions with your child can help you affirm and recognize their personal goals and support them in pursuing their own self-awareness and self-improvement.

Children and teenagers are at an ideal age to create healthier life habits and are learning to recognize and empathize with the needs of others. New Year’s resolutions for kids should focus on how they want to grow in the coming year, and making this tradition part of your family celebration can give you a new perspective on how your child is changing.

How Setting New Year’s Resolutions Benefits Your Child

Setting resolutions for kids should focus on the thrill of accomplishing something, and help teach young people the value of setting goals and the confidence that comes from achieving them. Some of the ways that goal setting helps children and teens include:

  • Better understanding of themselves and their ability to shape their future.
  • Earning praise for reaching their goals and growing in self-esteem.
  • Learning the benefits of delayed gratification, saving, and giving back.
  • Enhancing confidence with each achievement.
  • Encouraging young people to reach for higher goals with each success.
  • Teaching more adaptive and problem-solving behaviors.
  • Improving social skills and teamwork.
  • Learning to approach life goals with a plan rather than simply wishing for things.
  • Building a sense of purpose and commitment.

Tips for Setting New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

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Setting goals and planning to achieve them is challenging for all of us. New Year’s Day is a great time to get yourself and your child engaged in making this year better than the last. How can parents help children set appropriate goals and keep them?

Set Goals as a Family

Making New Year’s resolutions a family tradition can be a fun and exciting activity. Reflecting on the past year together and talking about what you have achieved is part of this process. If you set goals last year, this is a great time to talk about what techniques worked in achieving those, and which did not.

It is important to remember that there are no punishments for not fulfilling a resolution. Discussions about the act of setting goals, and improving our abilities to achieve them are empowering. Each family member will have resolutions of their own, and as a family you can commit to improving your recycling habits, having family dinners together, or having more outings together to events and locations that interest everyone.

Be a Goal-Setting Role Model

By openly discussing what you are proud of accomplishing in the past year and ways that you want to improve as a parent and a person, you inspire your family to do the same. Resolutions are not just a topic for a single day, but they can keep the family communicating about their hopes and goals all year long.

Stay involved by setting up charts, reminders, or a master list of the family's goals for the year, and implement a system to recognize small steps toward these larger goals. As a parent, showing that you support your child’s resolution and providing the tools, transportation, and encouragement that will help them achieve their goals not only improves the chances of success, but builds bonds that can last a lifetime.

Set Realistic and Achievable Goals

Many times as adults we do not achieve our New Year’s resolutions because we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Making New Year’s resolutions with your child is an opportunity to turn around your own thinking about this tradition and make a commitment to something you know you can achieve. Keep these factors in mind as you help your teenager or older child learn about realistic goal setting:

  • Goals are personal and the outcome must be motivating.
  • Believing in yourself and your ability to accomplish more is empowering.
  • Working toward goals encourages us to stretch ourselves and expand our abilities.
  • It is okay and sometimes essential to ask for and accept help from others.
  • Long-term goals are achieved with commitment to daily progress.
  • Each step forward is essential to reaching the destination.

Use the Science of Goal Setting for New Year’s Resolutions

Family and individual goal setting can take advantage of the techniques that large companies and organizations use to encourage growth and leverage individual potential. These methods formalize the process, set a timeline, and help establish how success will be measured. Here’s what to do:

  • Identify the goal clearly.
  • Determine what steps and resources are needed.
  • Set a timeline for each step of the project.
  • Track progress against the timeline and adjust.
  • Celebrate successes along the way and reward the end goal.
  • Discuss what worked well and what did not, without blame.
  • Use what you learned to improve your process next time.

Good New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

Remembering that the best New Year’s resolutions are specific, achievable, and motivating to each unique individual, consider these suggestions for fun and rewarding resolutions for kids:

  • Eating healthier, in a specific manner, such as changing two glasses of soda a day to water or milk, or eating two pieces of fruit every day.
  • Getting more exercise with a specific plan, which might be joining a soccer team, attending martial arts classes, or walking the dog to the park every day.
  • Reading before bed instead of watching TV or playing video games, which can improve the quality of sleep.
  • Taking responsibility for specific family chores without needing to be asked, like setting the table or washing dishes each night, or cleaning their room or a family space each week.
  • Learning a new skill like cooking or gardening, taking responsibility for one family meal per week, or maintaining a salad garden.
  • Prioritizing important tasks like homework and chores by actively working on time management.
  • Earning and saving money for something important to them, like a trip, camp, or piece of technology.
  • Becoming involved in their community by volunteering for a cause that interests them, which might include feeding the homeless, helping at an animal shelter, or reading to an older person.
  • Committing to at least one random act of kindness each week, and sharing these experiences as a family.
  • Reaching out each week to meet a new person, visit family, or keep contact with friends to build stronger relationships.
  • Studying a language, music, art, or craft that might be challenging but will further life goals or focus on individual interests.

Resolve to Raise Independent and Confident Young People

Gifted and 2e Education

New Year’s might be the time to consider thinking outside the box when it comes to your child’s education. Taking a moment to evaluate how your current education system is serving your child’s best interest might lead to investigating the more innovative options available.

Teaching your child to focus on longer-term goals and their lifestyle as a whole might even raise questions or concerns about limitations on their time, freedom of movement, and a one-size-fits-all approach to education. There are middle and high school programs available that allow students to experience an individualized curriculum that fulfills the requirements of major colleges, universities, and technical schools.

Rather than waiting to choose their own path after graduation, students at Lydian Academy can start shaping their futures today, developing the confidence and skills necessary to chart their own course into the future. With flexible scheduling, rolling admissions, and a one-on-one approach to your child’s education, they can dream, plan, and achieve more in middle and high school.

Lydian Academy offers both virtual learning and in-person options in Burlingame and Menlo Park, CA. Contact us today to schedule a virtual open house or tour of our campuses, and discuss the student-centered learning that sets Lydian students apart in achieving all their life goals.

We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.

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