Happy New Year! 2021 is a fresh start for all of us in so many ways! Traditionally, many of us typically start the new year setting specific goals and resolutions for ourselves, but what about for our kids?
Similar to assigning chores, discussing new year’s resolutions can be a valuable teaching moment and something to do together as a family. It also requires our kiddos to use a variety of their executive functioning skills in the process, such as planning, making decisions, organizing, and perhaps making a list of what they may need to achieve the goal.
Keep in mind that anytime we are speaking with our child about their behaviour, we want to focus on what we WANT them to do instead of what we want them to STOP doing. For example, we would frame a resolution as, “This year I am doing to spend more time outside,” instead of, “I will not spend every day playing video games.” The resolution should be viewed as something positive and achievable. Write it down and be specific! Instead of, “This year I am doing to spend more time outside,” maybe say, “Each week I will spend at least two hours outside.” Be creative and keep it fun for them! Some simple new year’s resolutions may include learning how to make Grandma’s favourite chocolate chip cookies, planning a family game night once a month, setting the table for dinner three times a week, or reading for 30 minutes every night before bed.
Finally, we all like to be rewarded for small steps towards our resolutions or our goals. Keep your child, and you, motivated by putting together a visual token system of you reaching your goal! For example, maybe after 5 family game nights your child gets to pick a new board game to add to the collection!
Written by Clinical Counsellor/Psychotherapist with Wildflowers, Ashley Carlson.