People often think up New Year's Resolutions for the new year, including plans to stop smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, or even spend more time with their kids.
New Year's can be a great time for your kids to come up with some of their own resolutions, especially as we face the current childhood obesity epidemic and experts report that many kids don't exercise enough and spend too much time watching TV and playing video games.
Since New Year's Resolutions can be just as hard for kids to keep as they are for adults, help your kids plan and stick to their resolutions by:
- helping them come up with a plan or schedule to meet each resolution
- encouraging them during any setbacks and helping them get back on track
- keeping them motivated by providing lots of positive reinforcement
Resolutions for Preschoolers
Yes, even preschoolers can have a few resolutions - keep them simple though.
Good resolutions for preschoolers might include:
- putting away toys and clothes
- brushing their teeth twice a day
- washing their hands regularly, especially after they go to the bathroom and before they eat
Resolutions for School Age Kids
School age kids can often benefit the most from New Year's Resolutions.
Remember to start small with your resolutions and work your way up over a few weeks or months so that your kids don't give up too soon. Good resolutions for school age kids (5 to 12 year olds) might include:
- drinking an extra glass of low-fat milk each day -- continuing to add a glass of milk every week or two, until they get to the recommended intake of 3 to 4 cups each day
- limiting the amount of 100% fruit juice to just 8 to 12 ounces each day and avoiding other sugary drinks, including soda and other fruit drinks
- eating an extra serving of vegetables and fruits each day -- continuing to add another vegetable and fruit every week or two, until they get to the recommended intake of 1 1/2 to 2 cups each day
- applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes before they go outside and reapplying it every few hours
- finding a team sport, like soccer, basketball, or baseball, etc., or an individual sport, such as tennis, swimming, or gymnastics, etc., so that they can become more active
- participating in more active free play each day, and spending less time inside playing video games and watching TV
- working towards a goal of being physically active for at least 60 minutes on most days of the week, through a combination of sports and active free play
- wearing a helmet when riding a bike
- sitting in a booster seat until the car's seat belts fit correctly when your kids are around 4'9" tall
- not using the internet without adult supervision
- limiting TV and computer use (screen time) to just 1 or 2 hours each day, and only watching and playing age-appropriate shows and games
Resolutions for Teens
In addition to the New Year's Resolutions for younger kids, some additional resolutions for teens might include:
- volunteering in the community to help other people
- getting help to cope with stress that leads to feelings of anxiety or anger
- asking a trusted adult to help with making difficult decisions
- resisting negative peer pressure
- getting 9 hours of sleep each night
New Year's Resolutions for Kids
While all of these resolutions are important, they will likely overwhelm your child if you start them all at once. Hopefully your kids are already doing some of these things, but if not, start with just a few and remember that there is no good reason that you can't pick up a few more every month or two.