Did you know that only 8% of us that make New Year resolutions actually stick to them?
Since 92% of us give up on our resolutions, should we bother passing the tradition down to our children?
The majority of studies suggest that making resolutions are a great idea as children’s habits are not yet fixed and children are quite adaptable. It is also a fantastic way to boost a child’s confidence and self esteem when they not only create a goal but follow through with it.
How do I get my child to make a resolution?
Use simple age appropriate language and explain that it is a goal you would like to achieve. If the child is very young, ask them what they are interested in learning or what types of activities/skills would make them feel happy and proud.
Children may need some examples of some of your past resolutions however keep in mind they should always be positive. We are very good at explaining what we don’t want e.g. I don’t want to eat junk food this year. Instead we should make our resolution or goal positive. E.g. I am going to eat 3 pieces of fruit a day.
Write a list of all your child’s suggestions and allow them to decide which one they would like to act on. Remember it’s your child’s resolution, not yours. They must have high motivation to succeed so ask them “why” the chosen goal is so important to them.
How can I ensure my child is successful?
Try using the popular and proven SMART goal setting method.
SPECIFIC. Your child’s goal may be to help around the house more, however what does that mean? What are they expected to do and when? If the goal is too broad it becomes overwhelming and quickly forgotten about. Get your child to choose an age appropriate task. My daughter is 6 and she has chosen to set the table therefore her goal will be; to set the table for dinner every night at 5:30pm.
MEASURABLE. How can you measure progress? Children need to be able to see their progress and it’s also motivating to have mini goals along the way. Some ways you may wish to do this is by putting marbles in a jar, or a sticker or tick on the calendar each time the job is completed. When there are say 15 marbles or 15 stickers, they may receive a mini reward e.g. a trip to the skate park.
ATTAINABLE. Is the goal realistic for your child? Is it motivating, is it age appropriate? Remember we are setting them up for success, the goal should be something they can aim for, but it can’t be so far fetched that it’s impossible for them to achieve.
RELEVANT. Ask if the chosen goal is relevant to your child’s “why”. Will it boost their confidence, resilience and self-esteem?
TIME BOUND. What is the deadline to achieve this goal, when do you want to see a result? A child’s goal may be “I will learn to do hand stands and cartwheels correctly. Therefore, I will attend a gymnastics class on Monday afternoons and practice 10 minutes every evening and will achieve this goal by June 2019”.
Another way to help your child succeed is by being a good role model. Make a resolution and share it with others, don’t be afraid to change or tweak it along the way it’s a good lesson in flexibility. You may also like to make a family goal where everyone is included such as going for a family bike ride or walk on Sunday mornings or a goal of kindness where the family decide together what random acts of kindness they will carry out together that month e.g. Helping at an animal shelter, cleaning an elderly neighbour’s porch, leaving flowers for a friend who may be alone.
Remember the key is really to work out what motivates our children and ensure the goal and process is a positive one. Happy New Year everyone!