We did set our new year resolution, every year. But how about our kids? How to train them?

Making resolutions with your children can be fun and exciting, a time for growth and change, and an opportunity for family bonding.

 

Always Put Positive Mind

Start by going over the positive things your kids accomplished last year. “Instead of pointing out shortcomings, be the historian of their previous successes,” say Dr. Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, and a teacher for an online class on helping kids develop happiness habits. “Point to the bright spot where they’re doing something well.”

Have them think of things they can do now that they couldn’t do last year. Say your 10-year-old taught himself to play a difficult song on the piano. Did that success come about because he pushed himself a little harder? Remind him how far that little bit of extra effort took him. Ask your child, “How can you transfer your success on the piano to something else?”

Be the Model

Each year on December 31, Vicky and Paul Dionne of Morristown, New Jersey, sit down with their two children, Christopher and Elyssa, and toast the New Year with glasses of sparkling cider. While they’re celebrating together, they talk about their New Year’s resolutions. Vicky might say, “Daddy and I have our resolutions that we’re working hard to keep. We make healthy food choices — we may want that big piece of chocolate cake, but we’re not going to have it.” Healthy eating is important to Paul, who is a dentist. So is instilling a sense of responsibility. “We talk about being responsible and doing well in our jobs,” he says, “and school is their job.”

Be Specific

“Be concrete, specific, and manageable,” Dr. Robin Goodman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and art therapist who has written books on children and stress says. “As with adults, vague but good-sounding resolutions don’t make for change. For example, ‘I will behave better’ is too general and will be out the window fast.” Encourage goals that are within their reach, so they don’t get discouraged.

Some realistic resolutions for kids might be “I’m going to keep my room neater,” “I’m going to be a better friend,” “I’m going to read more,” or “I’m going to get better at tennis.” Even these are broad resolutions that need to be broken down into doable, step-by-step pieces.

One Step At A Time

Dr. Carter says it takes six weeks to create a habit. For instance, if your child’s resolution is “I’m going to keep my room neater,” he should write down six tiny, easy steps and practice one each week. “The first week he puts his shoes in the closet, the second week he picks his pillow up off the floor, and so on,” Dr. Carter says. Your child might actually end up doing much more than this. “There’s a massive spillover effect,” she says. “Once people are engaged in their goal, they will do other things as well.” Have your kids fill in the spaces on their big list with these tiny steps or download “turtle steps” worksheets from Dr. Carter’s habit tracker.

Source: Parent.com

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