It’s that time of year again! As adults, we find it easy to make the resolutions but by the second or third week into our ever so meaningful resolutions, we all too often cave, we forget, we give up. If you’re like me, you wonder how you could ever help your children follow through on their resolutions when you can’t even keep up with your own! What is a parent to do? Well at Children’s Campus, we’ve spent some time pondering this very thing and we’ve come up with a few tips that just might help you and your child feel accomplished this year!
1. Take inventory of your child’s needs, recognize opportunities for them to grow, and set resolutions that will help them be their
Spend some time reflecting on what might help your child be the best he/she can be. If you know your child tends
to struggle in a particular area, make that a resolution. For example, if you are always struggling to find socks and
shoes when it’s time to head out the door, a helpful resolution might be to have your child put their shoes in the
same place, every day.
2. Set age appropriate resolutions.
For your preschooler, keep them simple. Some resolutions might include keeping their room clean, picking up toys
every night before bed, making their bed every day, being a nicer sibling, helping mom/dad out with daily chores,
etc. It’s very important they are age appropriate or your child could easily feel overwhelmed or even
underwhelmed if they aren’t quite challenged enough. You know your child—work with them to make resolutions
that you are both comfortable with.
3. Keep the resolutions simple and focused.
As important as it is to make sure the resolutions you and your child set are age appropriate, it’s also important
not to overdo it and create an overwhelming list. Hyper focus on the behaviors/attitudes/areas you want to modify
and set resolutions around those. No more than 3-5 or you run the risk of your child giving up too quickly because
they are overwhelmed and causing yourself more stress as a parent, with more to have to keep track of.
4. Write them down and discuss why making resolutions is important in life.
This doesn’t have to be elaborate or particularly beautiful. However; it does need to be written somewhere that
you and your child can see and reference on a regular basis. Studies show that we are more likely to accomplish
the thing we set out to do if we write it down and refer to it often. Make sure your child understands as best
he/she can why setting goals and making resolutions is important. You are teaching them a critical life lesson
about planning to succeed.
5. Develop a plan of action.
A plan is key—someone really smart once said if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Don’t over think this but do
have an idea for how you are going to support your child in meeting his/her goals. For example, if the resolution is
to participate in a daily chore or two, then you need to determine an age appropriate set of chores, show them what
to do, how to do it, and tell them when it needs to be done. If the resolution is to be nicer to their sibling, have
them give you some ideas on how they can be kinder and write them down.
6. Track your child’s progress—and offer rewards!
Besides setting the actual resolutions with your child, one of the most important things you can do is to help
him/her track their progress towards their goal. Think about what progress/success looks like, given the
resolutions you’ve set. On a regular basis, review the resolutions with your child. Make a chart that tracks their
progress—when they can actually see their progress, it makes them feel a sense of accomplishment. For example, if
your goal is to help your child remember to put his shoes in the same place every evening, then you might chart
how many days in a row he/she did this. And if they have done it on a regular basis without being reminded, then
perhaps you can choose an appropriate reward. The reward reinforces the behavior—and you are developing a
healthy cycle of effort, success, and reward!
After all, the point of doing this with your child is to help them learn to set goals, follow-through with them, and experience the joy of success, achievement, and reward! That’s a life long gift!