Are New Years Resolutions Healthy For Kids?

Lined Paper With Pen Writing Resolutions

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