Aren’t we lucky that New Year’s comes right after Christmas? After overindulging in rich foods since Thanksgiving, we almost start to crave some self-restraint. And what better time to create healthier habits than in the new year?
As we think over what we have accomplished over the past 12 months and of what goals we want to achieve in the upcoming year, it can be tons of fun to make resolutions. Resolving to live a healthier lifestyle is not only beneficial to ourselves, but to our families as a whole. And our kids can learn a lot about goal-setting and the joys of accomplishment by joining us as we come up with resolutions for 2013.
But if we have trouble keeping our resolutions, think how difficult it can be for our kids to stick to them. The key is working on goals together as a family, making sure that kids’ goals are positive and achievable, and then breaking them down into easy steps.
You may want to start off by discussing your resolutions and how you are going to accomplish them. Ask if your child has come up with an idea on his own—you may be surprised! Challenge your kids to come up with resolutions and start writing them out, or use a printable template—there’s a great one for elementary-school-aged kids on the blog ThirtyHandmadeDays.com.
Step by Step
For example, one of my 3rd grader’s resolutions is to run the Boulder Bolder 10k race in May. As his mom, I need to think on how I can help him achieve his goal and feel good about himself. Right now, he can easily run a 5k, but to make his goal, he needs to build up his miles over the next 5 months.
Some steps I can help him take are: making a mileage plan, joining a running group in school and running every Saturday. Every few weeks, we will check in to see if he is accomplishing his steps to his greater goal. If he isn’t, we can reevaluate the steps without losing the big resolution.
Helping my son believe he can succeed is an essential life skill. Psychologists call it self-efficacy, the ability for a child to define a goal, persevere, and see himself as capable. Kids with self-efficacy will have greater success in personal accomplishment, lower stress and less depression.
Every year the American Academy of Pediatrics comes up with a list of healthy resolutions for kids, divided by age groups. These resolutions are a great jumping-off point for coming up with ideas with your kids. Some of their suggestions will hopefully become lifelong healthy habits, such as wearing sunscreen on sunny days, putting on a helmet when biking, brushing teeth twice a day and always wearing a seatbelt every time they get in a car.
If you are coming up with tons of ideas, it may help to break them down into types, such as personal resolutions (healthy habits), relationship resolutions (with friends and family), and the greater good (charity, recycling).
It always helps to be specific with your kids. If they come up with a resolution to be more polite, it may help to change it to always saying “please” and “thank you.” If they want to be neater, a better resolution would be to make their beds every day and pick up toys at 7:00 pm. If they want to be better readers, a more specific resolution would be to read for 20 minutes every night.
No matter what your family’s resolutions are, always be sure to follow up and reward achievements with tons of encouragement and plenty of hugs. And that goes for the grownups in your family too!
Have a happy, healthy new year, from all of us at ZisBoomBah.com!
Do you have some healthy family resolutions or tips you’d like to share with the ZBB community? We’d love to hear from you! Post your comments below or on our FaceBook page!