Making New Year’s resolutions comes with a lot of optimism, but unfortunately, research shows that 80% of people lose their resolve and motivation by mid-February. This year, try creating small goals that you and your kids can achieve together.
The start of a new year is a great time for parents and children to focus on forming good habits together, says Dr. Pilar Bradshaw. She suggests families begin with small changes.
“Talk about it as a family, decide something little that you could do that would be better for your family health,” she says.
One of the best things families can do is make a resolution to spend more time together. Put down the electronics and focus on communicating, Dr. Bradshaw says.
“We know that time together can help everybody’s stress level to drop, it can help kids’ grades to improve, it can help everyone’s self-esteem to improve and really, when we spend that time together with our phones turned off, there’s a lot of good things that can come from that.”
Involve children in setting goals
You may find inspiration by asking your children what areas they would like to work on, Dr. Bradshaw says. “Because if kids get engaged in these family changes, they’re going to help power everybody forward.”
Here are some more suggested resolutions for families:
- Try getting outside more together. It can be a great mood booster and help you get needed physical activity.
- Aim for healthier eating and eat together as a family, when possible, despite busy schedules.
- Read together. Reading has many brain-boosting benefits for kids and can strengthen the bond between you and your child.
- Get the whole family caught up on checkups and medical screenings, including dental and eye exams.
- Evaluate your screen time and adjust accordingly. Remember, that screen time shouldn’t always be alone time. Watch a TV show together as a family or play a video game with your kids.
- Involve your kids in setting new year’s goals that are fun for the entire family; this can help turn resolutions into long-lasting habits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests setting different resolutions for children based on their age. Younger children could have a goal of picking up toys while older children could focus on healthier behaviors such as improving their diet or exercising.
Kids also like having something to work toward and depending on their age, they can have fun keeping track on sticker charts or getting praise or rewards as they reach these goals.
Set realistic goals
The key to tackling goals that stick is making a few strategic tweaks that are doable for the family, rather than aiming for a complete overhaul. Be realistic about your goals.
Little changes can lead to big changes over time, Dr. Bradshaw says. “If you make small positive changes and you give yourself time to make each of those changes, over years, you will get your entire family to a much better place.”