By Michelle Mady
New Year’s resolutions can help give a new feel for a new year. It’s a fresh start, and flipping over to a new calendar with fresh ideas, goals and outlooks can help start the year on the right foot. As adults, we’re often thinking of these resolutions as we end the year with some last guilty pleasures. But can children have New Year’s resolutions? And, is it worth it?
The answer is yes, and no, and it depends. While the “go-to” resolutions are not realistic for children, there are goals that can be set with children to kick off the year. There are many ways to include your children in this yearly tradition that are age appropriate and can actually be really fun and stress free. Resolutions like:
Family Fun Day Resolution
Resolutions are meant to make our lives just a little bit better, maybe create more happiness or healthy habits. What about making more memories? Consider a monthly Family Fun Day as a resolution! Once a month, the whole family goes somewhere or does something together. Maybe each family member gets a turn choosing the event.
You can also use New Year’s Eve as a brainstorming day. Think of twelve fun outings together, write them down on pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Each month on Family Fun Day, grab one of the ideas and go with it. It doesn’t have to be much- even just a picnic in the park, or a day at the beach can be really fun and meaningful.
Dinner Team Resolution
Got picky eaters in your house? Maybe a food resolution is in order. Make an effort to include children in grocery shopping and meal prep in the new year. How exciting is it to try a new food that you not only picked out, but helped to wash, cut, prep and cook! Including children in all aspects of meal time can help combat picky eating.
For an extra step in this resolution, consider making a “funny” meal once a week, or once a month depending on your schedule. Roll a peeled banana in crushed up cereal and then slice it to make Banana Sushi. Arrange your pizza toppings to look like a silly face. Any “funny” addition to dinner is sure to add some interest.
Is there a skill that your child could use some help with? Maybe your toddler isn’t very verbal. Or your preschooler isn’t recognizing letters yet. Make your resolution this year to be spending some extra time each week with your child to develop these skills. Keep it all play based and light. The bonus of this resolution? You are sneaking in some really meaningful one-on-one time with your child, which will benefit both you and your child in so many ways.
Resolutions can feel necessary and sometimes overwhelming. Be sure that whatever goals you set for yourself or your family are realistic. They are meant to enhance our lives and add value to our routines. So let’s make next year a year of family togetherness!
About the author: Michelle is a mom of 5 children ranging in age from 5 to 15. As a toddler and preschool teacher, she shares experiences, activities and guidance to other parents, as both a parent and as a professional early childhood educator, at any stage of their parenting journey.