The January is a great time to set goals for the new year. Writing down a few new year’s resolutions with your kids helps them understand goals. When your kids form new healthy habits and meet their goals, they experience feelings of pride. Kids in elementary school are the perfect age for new year’s resolutions. Younger family members can also set simple goals for themselves and work toward goals the whole family is working on together.
Defining “New Year’s Resolutions” for Kids
Start by explaining new year’s resolutions as goals we want to reach. These goals are usually about becoming a better person, sibling or student and take some work, but they can be broken into short- and long-term pieces. You can give examples of your past new year’s resolutions and explain how you worked to meet them.
One way to define new year’s resolutions is to use sports metaphors. Little soccer, hockey and football players will understand going for the goal and the work it takes to get there.
How to Help Your Kids Make Resolutions
Make the time you spend making new year’s resolutions with your kids special. Share a special treat, listen to a favorite playlist and use cool craft supplies to write out everyone’s goals. These elements make it easy to turn new year’s resolutions into a family tradition.
Start by pointing out all the positive changes you and your kids made in the last year. Maybe you all drank more water and less pop, or everyone read for 15 minutes together once a day. Celebrate the goals you’ve already met, no matter how big or little.
When brainstorming ideas for this year’s resolutions, let kids take the lead. You can provide general ideas; all the specifics should come from your kids. Guide your little ones into positive goals. Rather than taking something away from daily life, add something in. Use your own goals to model positivity. Focus on eating healthier or going to the gym instead of losing weight. Resolutions should also sound fun. No one wants to work toward a boring goal!
No matter how old your kids are, narrow down the list of resolutions they’ll work on this year. Focus on one or two goals and meeting them will be infinitely more achievable and enjoyable. Once your kids’ lists of new year’s resolutions are set, break each goal into individual steps that can be integrated into your daily schedules one at a time. Incorporating small steps also makes it okay if you get off track for a week or two. If your kids use specific goal-setting steps or techniques at preschool or in the classroom, this is a great place to incorporate them at home.
Set Goals for the Whole Family
Families with lots of little ones may want to work toward a single goal. To meet this resolution, you can assign each family member a small piece of the goal or work together to meet it. For example, if you resolve to keep the house neater, one person could put away the dishes and another could make sure toys are in their baskets. Or, you could resolve to all eat an extra serving of veggies at dinner or plan a family game night once a month.
Keep Kids Accountable
One of the most important parts of setting goals is checking in with everyone on a regular basis. To make goals achievable, help your kids quantify them. Instead of “being better,” use numbers and concrete measurements. To make checking in easier, turn resolutions into a craft or chart you can hang on the wall. This is a great reminder to talk about how everyone is doing.
Bible Lessons on New Beginnings
You can also incorporate a relevant Bible story into the time you spend setting new year’s resolutions with your kids. There are plenty of lessons on new beginnings to choose from! These are a few of our favorites.
- Genesis 1 – Even God started from scratch on his goals! Talk about the steps God took to create the heavens, the earth, living creatures and people.
- Hebrews 2:18 and Joshua 1:9 – These verses will help remind kids that even when the resolutions they set for themselves are tough, God is there to help.
- Luke 19:1-10 – The story of Zacchaeus is a great reminder that we can all have a fresh start in Jesus’ eyes. What better time than the new year to resolve to start fresh?