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Should You Encourage Children to Make New Year's Resolutions?

Well, it's a brand new year, and (for some at least) I'm guessing that New Year's resolutions are front of mind.

They certainly are on the Supernanny website, where they've compiled a list of potential New Year's resolutions for kids. On the face of it, I have to confess it sounds pretty good, right? You and your child agree a set of resolutions which they'll try to stick to.

The only problem is, well let's be honest now. When it comes to New Year's resolutions we don't necessarily take them all that seriously. Normally my resolutions last around a week or so, or possibly if I'm very focused, until the end of January; then - well they just sort of fall by the wayside.

I can't help but feel that in some instances we're just setting ourselves up for failure. To be fair, I think that more often than not, this has to do with the type of resolutions which we set ourselves; and perhaps (if we're not careful) we may find ourselves setting our children.

Let's start out with a favourite of mine (just so we're clear, this is one of my resolutions, not one I've set my child!):

"lose weight"

Ah two little words, that's all, just two little words... and yet - well it's difficult, right? Surely a far better, and indeed more achievable resolution would be something like:

"find a form of exercise you enjoy"

Now that's much better. It's still hard, of course, but the chances are:

  1. Whilst I'm looking for a form of exercise I enjoy I will try out various activities, which will probably mean that I'm more active than I was.
  2. I probably will find an activity I do like.
  3. If I like the activity the chances are I will stick with it.

I think that if you do decide to agree New Year's resolutions with your child, you'll need to employ a similar tack. Make the resolutions achievable, positive and open.


So, if for example you've a fussy eater, and you'd like them to eat more fruit and vegetables - rather than having a resolution like "eat more fruit and veg", why not try something along the lines of "try a new fruit or vegetable every week". Don't get me wrong, chances are you'll still have something of a battle on your hands, but at least it sounds less daunting than the previous version!

I've decided to give this a go with my eldest and to help ease things along I've make it a two way street - so for every resolution he's agreed to do for me, I've agreed to do one for him.

If you're looking to implement something similar think along the lines of agreeing to some one-on-one time once per week, or an extra story on a Saturday night.

I'd also recommend keeping your resolutions front of mind by writing them on a sheet of paper and putting it somewhere prominent - e.g the fridge, a notice board, the kitchen door, etc. If your resolutions involve weekly or monthly activities, then create a chart so you can tick off the tasks as and when you complete them. This might also to help you keep on track.

Have you made resolutions with your children? Got any tips you'd care to share? I'd love to hear about them; oh and wish me luck!

Image credit Sally M

Leave a comment

    From Lucy Quick
    @Mummy Zen - thanks for your lovely comment. I think a follow up 'progress' post might be in order later in the year - it's going really well for now, but of course it's early days!
    From Mummy Zen
    Interesting idea....I think your suggestions are good ones. Best to keep it simple and focus on just one or two new things to reduce the chance of giving them up. Writing them down and displaying them in a visible place is a good tip too I think.

    My son is too young for this but it's definitely something I'll consider when he is older. You don't often hear much about children and new year's resolutions so it's a good topic to bring up :-)
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