Young and old goals for 2024

Family on Christmas with bengal lights

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for adults! Here are some tips to help your children make achievable goals.

For many of us, the New Year signals a time to assess our lives and make changes we don’t like. There is always room for improvement in the coming year, and our children can learn a lot about self-discipline and the importance of setting goals when making resolutions. These suggestions can help your children benefit from jotting down their aspirations for the new year.

Make it a family affair

Making New Year’s resolutions a family tradition is the best way to teach your children the value of them. Sit down with your children and reflect on the previous year, discussing your accomplishments and goals as individuals and as a family. You can discuss what did and didn’t work, and talk about the things each of you want to continue doing, and how you can all make positive changes to improve on the things that you’d like to change.

Take turns sharing things you are proud of and things you want to improve. It may be beneficial for parents to go first to provide a role model for their children. If your child is old enough to write, he or she should record their achievements and goals, and you can help younger children by doing the same.

Family resolutions can include things like going on a monthly hike, playing board games twice a month, or committing to more volunteer activities. Limit the number to make it more manageable and meaningful.

Make a resolution box, in which each family member can drop in their resolutions, and then pull them out at a later date to review them.

Different ages have different resolutions

If you are concerned about your child’s diet, encourage healthier eating habits for them, as well as the entire family. If your child’s room is a mess, try to help them commit 10 minutes a day to cleaning it. As your child grows older, they can become more active in setting goals that will mean more to them when they achieve them.

Recommended resolutions for preschool-aged children focus on cleaning up toys, brushing teeth, washing hands and being kind to pets. Parents who consider these behaviours to be part of their regular expectations already, could provide resolutions that focus on higher goals.

Preschoolers should be encouraged to work on listening and helping skills. A resolution for children under age five could be to be better behaved, be more respectful to mom and dad, or more honest. What your child needs to work on is very personal, so work with your child to come up with areas for improvement.

When your child reaches adolescence, encourage them to take more responsibility for their actions, such as hygiene, dealing with stress in a healthy manner, talking through conflict, resisting drugs and alcohol, and helping others through community service.

Act as a role model

Parents should be reflective about how they wish to be in the coming year. It’s a great opportunity to promote good mental and physical health. No matter what age your child is, they are more likely to understand the value of goal setting if you take the lead. Children also enjoy that thrill of accomplishment, especially when their parents acknowledge it. As you go over the family list of resolutions each month or quarter, take time to acknowledge your child’s successes, as well as reinforcing the resolutions that need more attention.