Resolution re-do: Looking ahead as a family

For many people, the new year means it’s time to assess our lives and make changes about what we don’t like or struggle with. Losing weight, exercising and managing time better are among those eternal resolutions.

Yet resolutions aren’t just for adults. Kids can learn the value of making goals, working to achieve them and even experiencing failure. So make 2017 the start of a new tradition by making New Year’s resolutions as a family.

“The energy of a new year is the perfect time to look at where you are headed and where you want to go,” says Jill Hope, founder and empowerment mentor at I Shine, a family coaching practice in Chicago. “When you can tap into what you want for your life, and then create an intention to experience it, you are much more likely to see the opportunities and circumstances show up to help you.”

Intentions, or resolutions, help kids feel more focused, with a greater sense of control over their lives, she says.

When it comes to selecting a resolution, let your children lead the way.

“The key to a great resolution is choosing something your kids are truly passionate about and really want to experience,” Hope suggests. “Choosing something that Mom or Dad want for them, if their heart is not in it, is not the best choice.”

It’s also important to be realistic.

“Start with things that are clear to understand and easy to observe,” says Beth Miller, a certified parent coach. “Something like, ‘Make my bed every day’ rather than ‘Be nice to my sister.’ Ideally we are setting up our kids and ourselves for success, so start small and make it meaningful, but attainable.”

Help your kids select their resolution by having them use it as an opportunity to re-assess what is important to them as they move through the year.

“It helps to ask questions like, ‘What would you like to have accomplished by the end of the year?,’ ‘How would you like to feel as you look back over the year?,’ or ‘How will you feel when you accomplish these things?,’” Hope says.

Stick with it!

Once you create resolutions as a family, write them down on a big poster board and track them throughout the year, Hope says.

Then meet as a family every few weeks to track ways to move closer to the goals.

“By checking in periodically, it helps each family member stay focused on looking for opportunities to move toward their chosen resolutions,” Hope says. “Plus the more regularly they can feel the feelings the achievement will create, the more easily they will be able to achieve their resolution.”

Miller suggests incorporating reminders in a way that speaks to your child.

“If your child likes charting, create a fun chart to track their progress. If your child likes art, make pictures or take photos of the child acting out the resolution. If your child is tech-oriented, find an app to monitor success,” says Miller.

“Overall, be creative and have fun with it,” Miller says. “If things don’t go as planned, consider the ‘failure’ an opportunity to learn something about yourselves and revamp your resolution.”

Good for kids resolutions

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, here are some ideas of healthy New Year’s resolutions for kids:


I will clean up my toys by putting them where they belong.

I will let my parents help me brush my teeth twice a day.

I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.

I will help clear the table when I am done eating.

5 to 1​2 years olds

I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at special times.

I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week.

I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.

I’ll be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.

13 ​y​ears old and older

I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink soda only at special times.

I will take care of my body through physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.

I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day on these activities.

I will help out in my community by giving some of my time to help others, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.

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