New Year's resolutions aren't just for adults. It's a great time to change old habits, set achievable goals, and celebrate new beginnings. And your kids can get just as much positivity and excitement out of making NY resolutions. Here we've got 24 brilliant ideas to get them started.
New Year's resolutions for parents are just one step away from setting family goals that are realistic and achievable by doing this you can give your kids something inspirational and positive to work towards. The sense of achievement they'll have in reaching it will boost their self-esteem and confidence - great for mental health. Resolutions are a brilliant exercise in setting long-term goals (something most kids struggle with) and can help your little one to be more mindful in everyday life.
Before you start though, we checked in with the experts and success is all down to how you frame resolutions, according to family psychotherapist Fiona Yassin. "A different and more beneficial way to approach goal setting in the new year is to do so from a whole family perspective," says Yassin. "Instead of setting your child resolutions, or asking them to set resolutions for themselves, get together in a family forum and think about what, collectively, you’d like your objectives to be over the next year." Here are some ideas to get your family's new year off to a good start.
24 New Year resolutions (or goals) for kids and families
"With the New Year, and the good intentions that come with it, it’s worth looking at ways that the whole family can get involved and make resolutions together," says child development expert Dr Amanda Gummer. "That way, rather than just having individual goals, children can have more responsibility - which in turn is good for them and improves their confidence."
Dr Gummer explains that many of the really important skills kids need are learned at home, such as confidence/self-esteem, communication, emotional honesty, independence, morality, and personal hygiene.
"The New Year is a great time to make changes in the way the house runs and encourage children to learn some skills that will be useful for them as they mature and will make the family run more smoothly." Both Dr Gummer and Yassin advocate children coming up with and choosing their own goals and contributing to family goals.
"Goals that are great to set collectively are those that encourage unification and communication within the family system," says Yassin. "For example, ‘can we, as a family, agree to meet and spend time together every Saturday morning for 60 minutes?’, ‘can we do one outdoor activity together at least every two weeks?’, ‘can we book our family holiday by March this year to avoid a last-minute panic in the summer?’."
Amanda has a PhD in Neuropsychology, the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and over 20 years’ experience working with children and families.
Fiona Yassin is the founder and clinical director at The Wave Clinic. She is a U.K. and International registered Psychotherapist and Accredited Clinical Supervisor (U.K. and UNCG).
It's important to make any goals realistic and achievable and focus the point of those goals on how they can help your child develop. "If parents would like to see changes within a child in 2024 - particularly one that’s pre-teen - it’s essential that this is built into the family system," says Yassin. "For example, if a parent would like for their child to be more prepared for school, they might say, ‘can we set aside 10 minutes every evening where we both pack our bags and get our uniform and outfit ready at the same time, me for work and you for school’."
With that in mind, here are 24 family-centred and child-centred resolutions to get you all started in 2024.
24 New Year Resolutions for kids
- I will join a sports team or learn a new sport, like football or gymnastics.
- I will set the table for dinner every weeknight.
- I will learn how to cook one new recipe this year.
- I will try one new food every week.
- We will have a technology-free game night every Friday.
- I will eat at least one serving of vegetables with dinner every day.
- I will read for 30 minutes before bed instead of watching TV.
- We will go on a walk together as a family once per week.
- I will learn how to play a musical instrument or try a new hobby.
- I will try to be more patient when facing challenges or setbacks.
- We will plan a family day out every month.
- I will participate in recycling at home and reduce waste.
- I will talk to my parents or a trusted adult when I feel upset or worried.
- We will have a monthly family movie night, and we each get to choose the film.
- I will keep my room neat and organised by putting things away.
- I will make an effort to include others in games and activities.
- I will do my homework on time and ask for help if I need it.
- I will practice waiting my turn and not interrupting others when they speak.
- I will try something new that challenges me, even if it seems a bit scary.
- We will turn off our phones and devices during dinnertime.
- We will create a family scrapbook throughout the year, capturing special moments and milestones.
- We will plan a family holiday to explore new places and create lasting memories.
- We will talk more about the things that we are grateful for, before one family dinner each week.
- We will set a family fitness challenge, setting achievable goals and supporting each other in staying active.
How to explain NY resolutions to kids
A New Year’s resolution is a goal or promise you make to yourself to do something that will improve your next year. Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions. Your parents might make some resolutions, your teachers might have some, and you can make your own resolutions too!
Here are some examples of New Year’s resolutions that you might like to set:
- Eating healthier foods like more fruits and vegetables.
- Keeping your room cleaner by putting toys away.
- Getting more exercise by playing sports or going for walks.
- Being nicer to your brother or sister.
- Spending more time drawing or reading.
You can decide on a resolution by thinking about what you would like to do more of or get better at over the next year. Setting a goal and trying your best is the most important part. It's okay if things don't go perfectly. The most important part is that you're trying and having fun along the way.
How to support your kids with their NY resolutions
"Communication in any family is key, so keep talking about what you want to achieve with your goal or resolution, how this makes you feel, and how your child feels if they are smashing their resolution daily," says Dr Gummer.
"Always lead by example, though; if you’re struggling to keep yours, be honest! Talk to your child about your pitfalls and temptations to veer off track - light-hearted chat is key here, and if you slip back into old habits, then there’s nothing wrong with re-setting your goals and agreeing to a family reward of a movie night if you all succeed after the first week."
Here are some more tips to keep in mind as you support your kids to keep their NY resolutions:
- Be flexible: As children grow and change, so might their interests and goals. Allow them the freedom to adapt their resolutions over time.
- Be a role model: Share your own resolutions and progress with your kids. Be a positive example by demonstrating commitment and perseverance.
- Give them help without pressure: Help kids break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps, offering support along the way.
- Celebrate: Keep motivating your kids by celebrating small victories and achievements along the way to boost their confidence.
Now you've set your resolutions, find some great activities you can all do as a family, such as days out, fitness activities or crafting. Plus, here are 28 brilliant things to do before you're 10 and a half.
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Joanne Lewsley is a freelance copywriter and editor who creates parenting, health and lifestyle content for evidence-based websites, including BabyCentre, Live Science, Medical News Today and more.
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