4 Ways to Help Your Kids Set and Achieve New Years Resolutions

Making New Years resolutions is a great way to teach children about setting and achieving goals. 

Here are 4 tips to help your kids achieve their New Years resolutions this year:

1. Begin With Short-Term Resolutions 

Remember that your child’s perception of time is different than your own.  One year can seem like an eternity to a 10 year old.  This is why it is important to set short-term goals that feel more manageable to kids. Edwin A. Locke, PhD, professor of Leadership and Motivation at the University of Maryland has this advice for parents, “The time perspective as a young child is very short so you have to set mostly proximate goals,” he says. “As they get older, they can begin to grasp more distant goals, but they may not be for the year in the future, they might be a week in the future, and as they get older, they might be a year in the future. You have to know what your child is capable of and how good they are at thinking, long and short term, and connecting the two together.”

2.    Set Simple Goals

By setting simple goals, and celebrating their achievement, you allow your kids to build a foundation of success that will give them the confidence to set bigger, loftier goals in the future.  This kind of exercise builds the discipline and habits necessary for planning and achievement.  Del Millers, PhD, teaches motivation and high performance strategies to busy entrepreneurs and professionals. He says that the key to successful goal setting is developing the discipline your brain needs to create healthy habits. “Pick something very small. Pick one habit at a time,” Millers says, “And in doing so, you’re developing the kind of habits that will last, because your brain will develop a habit loop around supporting you towards those goals. So start small and make sure that you don’t bite off too much too soon.”

3.    Lead By Example

As parents, we are our children’s greatest role models.  It is up to us to show them how to set and achieve goals through our own example.  If your kids see you overcoming challenges to meet your goals, they will be more likely to believe that they can do the same.  “Strive to be the best you have ever been. If you’re a parent and you have kids and you want to lead by example,” says Millers. 

4.    Give Earned Praise

Today’s kids are subject to a lot of phony praise.  Although it is important to built children’s self-esteem, as parents we should be mindful of what we praise, or risk making praise meaningless to our kids. “Earned [praise] is good because it’s fuel for your life. It’s fuel for your future. It encourages you to keep trying and improving in yourself,” says Locke.  “Make praise special, not something that happens every five minutes.”

For more expert tips on goal setting with children, check out kidsinthehouse.com

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