Happy New Year And A Year Of New Horizons For All Of Us.
The beginning of a New Year in my household has a certain wave of activity that was once known as “spring cleaning.” However, it is not springtime that is the new marker in the Larsen household. Starting out a brand new year serves as the benchmark for goal setting and self-improvement.
Venturing fresh as one begins a new year is a definite healthy way that parents can guide youngsters into making great changes in their life under the guise of “resolutions.“
Although the word is an automatic for “the promises we broke yesterday,” it could be a great springboard for conversation about making better life choices.
There are certain things children can never learn in a classroom setting but only in the heart of the home. Some of those “home healthy life lessons are”
- a healthy sense of self-respect
- valuing their belongings
- revering other people, and their differences
- developing skills to make wise choices
Working on one or two of these goals and rewarding youngsters for the smallest of accomplishments can encourage a positive attitude.
Where Can You Begin?
1. Make a list of goals that can be achievable in steps or increments.
Baby steps eventually mature into great strides.
2. Play the goal game. Have your child pull the goal out of a hat and
work on it for a period to time. Doing well on one goal gives such a
sense of accomplishment. Pull another target out as the first goal
is being accomplished.
3. Reward goals and accomplishments. Rewards can be powerful motivators.
Be careful though how incentives are used. Remember you are gifting the behavior-not
targeting in on “the prize.”
Tips and Tricks To Keep Your Child on Track:
- The best rewards do not come out of a box. Your love, praise, and admiration are the most valuable incentives a child should learn to cherish.
- Isn’t that what character development is all about? Make it a habit to give compliments, approval, and that huge hug each time your child even attempts to make a stride in reaching his or her goal.
- For pre-school, it’s always fun to create a special poem, movement, or saying that emphasizes their achievement. Remember though, you are concentrating on the behavior and not the reward. You don’t have to go “overboard.” This may stress your little one to try to be perfect each and every time.
- Good things come in small packages. There are dozens of “dollar stores.” that carry inexpensive little surprises for goals well met. It’s a good idea to shop as a family so those nice tiny little lagniappes are well known to the recipient. The “goodie bag” should be well in view as a gentle reminder that when you hit a goal – you get a prize.
- Little gifts keep the eye on the behavior and not the reward. Remember your expectations are behavior that is acceptable. This is what a person of character and integrity should be doing in the first place.
- I don’t encourage food. Mixed messages can come from rewarding your child with sweets and treats.
- Please don’t wait a week before you bestow your reward. The more space between the reward and the behavior, the more the disconnect. The younger your little one is, the time to reward should be more imminent.
Have Fun Together
- Have your youngster create his or her own reward chart.
- If your youngster is older than pre-k, it is a fun activity to gather up stars, stickers, or markers to receive an accolade. Both of you should agree upon a certain set of accomplishments to receive a sticker (or golden mark) on the chart. Once those are successfully accomplished, play a game together, go to the movies, and the best reward of all – take a trip to the bookstore or download a great eBook.
The following are recommendations are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They can serve as some guidelines to get your on track.
• I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
• I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
• I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
Kids: 5– to 12-years-old
• I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only on special occasions.
• I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
• I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
• I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
• I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
• I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
• I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.
Kids: 13-years-old and up
• I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only on special occasions.
• I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
• I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
• I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
• When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
• When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
• When I notice my friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
• I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence. I will expect the same good behavior in return.
• I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco, drugs or alcohol.
• I agree not to use a cellphone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.
Hope these hints and suggestions will help you as you consider your own personal resolutions this year as well,
Let me know what your thoughts are. I would love to hear from you.
Words Of Love And Wisdom