Happy New Year written with colourful scrabble letters, while regular scattered scrabble letters surround it. This is to compliment the article about New Year’s resolutions.

Should your child make a New Year’s resolution?

Most people can agree, that improving ourselves should not be decided only when New Year’s Day approaches and should be a continuous, reflective process throughout the year. But there is something about starting the New Year, that gives us a moment to reflect. It provides an opportunity to think about what we can do differently throughout the new year to bring about positive change and become better.

It’s clear to see the benefits new year resolutions can have on adults, but should we encourage children to make goals in this same way?

To help you decide, we have put together some ideas on how to decide if a New Year’s resolution is right for your child:

The Failure Effect

We have all had the feeling of failure when creating a goal that doesn’t go to plan. Coming up to the end of the year, it seems people become more aware of what they haven’t achieved, rather than what they have. This is even more prominent with resolutions that don’t go to plan.

Rather than thinking “I’ve failed”, we need to reflect on “Why didn’t I achieve my goal?”. Most of the time this can happen when only the end result is thought of. So how we prevent this for our children?

The aim here, is to not to prevent them from ever failing. Failure is an important part of development. But what is the point of starting if failure is inevitable? We should at least help our children start with a chance of success.

So what does that actually mean?
Well, we should help our children plan realistic goals, with a structured plan.

That doesn’t mean that your child shouldn’t plan big either. We want our children to have high aspirations for themselves. So what should we do if our child decides to set a huge goal?

The big dream

The quote “A goal without a plan, is just a wish” written in black, against a blue background. This has been used as part of the discussion on if setting a New Year’s resolution is right for your child.

“A goal without a plan, is just a wish”

We want to encourage big aspirations, but we need to think about timeframe when we think about goals. If your child says “I want to be a professional gymnast by the end of the year”, but has never done gymnastics before and is not really athletic. We may realise as a parent, this is unrealistic.

But instead of saying “no you cannot do that”, we can instead recommend they attend weekly gymnastics lessons and practice in between sessions to help towards their goal. In simple terms, we can help our children set realistic goals and a realistic achievable plan. Things may still go wrong. For example, they may miss a practice or not be able to do a particular move straight away. Yet at the end of the year, if they have been as consistent as possible, they will be able to see a considerable improvement.

Resolutions don’t have to be big.

As admirable as it is to have a child that is a “Big Dreamer”, it is still applaudable for children to set smaller goals. It can also be extremely beneficial for a child to set smaller, realistic goals that have the ability to set lifelong, healthy routines.

For example, according to research, it takes approximately one month of repetition to change something into a daily routine. If a child chooses a smaller goal of making their bed in the morning or tidying their room before bedtime. They may achieve a lifelong healthy habit, that will benefit them for longer than a year.

Yet again, the importance of setting each goal being on achievability. If your child has set the goal of making their bed every morning, but finds it difficult to get up early in the morning and it is a struggle to be on time for school or other planned activities. It might be best to bring this to your child’s attention and ask them to problem solve on how they can make it possible.

They will feel a sense of achievement.

One of the main benefits of setting a New Year’s resolution , is that your child can feel a sense of independence, learn problem solving skills and feel a sense of achievement. No matter how big or small.

Whether you take this guidance to help your child set goals in general or set goals particularly for the New Year, you may be interested to see our other upcoming articles on how to set goals with your child. You may also like “Why Reading should be your New Year’s resolution”.

At chamelifun, we wish you a lovely start to the New Year and hope you achieve all your aspirations.

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