After the holidays, New Year’s rolls around, invigorating people everywhere to start anew and set goals for the coming year. It’s also a great time to engage young people in your life around positive, attainable goals for the year ahead.
Setting goals, or New Year’s Resolutions in this case, helps young people improve communication, decision-making skills, and self-confidence – challenging them to think about their goals and how they can achieve them.
To start, sit down with the young person in your life and talk about their achievements in the past year. Did they learn to read? Learn a new skill? Achieve in sports or the arts? What are they most proud of?
By reflecting on these accomplishments, young people can think about their goals for the coming year with a positive outlook and the confidence to achieve it.
Below are five fun and kid-friendly New Year’s Resolutions to do with your special young person. Or get together with your children or young person in your life and plan your own resolutions. Feel free to use our guide to help you reflect on the year past and set goals.
- Make a new friend - Life is better with a friend by your side. Making friends builds empathy, confidence, and can open a child’s world to new points of view and opportunities. It also encourages social-emotional development, an essential part of growing up.
- Have more fun as a family - Spending quality time with family or special people in your life is critical for a well-balanced life, but easy to push to the bottom of a busy to-do list. Try to carve out time once a week to do something together everyone enjoys, such as game night, a family meal or a special outing to reconnect and have fun on a regular basis. Try new activities, like sledding or ice skating or frisbee. Young people are more likely want to repeat the activity if fun memories are being made while participating.
- Try new foods - Challenge kids and teens in your life to step outside their comfort zone and try new foods! Make it fun with a “One Bite of Everything Club” and introduce new healthy foods or combine foods they already love. Once a week, families can introduce a new vegetable for dinner they have never had. Pick a different color each week so a rainbow of vegetables are discovered over time.
- Participate in sports or physical activities - Regular physical activity has positive physical and mental benefits for young people (and everyone) and can teach life skills including teamwork, conflict-resolution, resilience, and stress-management. Organized sports are great, but there are many ways families can be active together, whether its kicking around the soccer ball, creating a fun obstacle course or turning up the music for a dance party!
- Show more empathy - Building empathy is critical for young people’s social-emotional development. It helps them consider things from another person’s point of view. Children and teens pick up on role-models' behavior, from how they treat a restaurant server to ways they a support a friend in crisis. Use moments of conflict with siblings or friends to discuss other’s perspectives. Taking part in a service project to help people in need is another good way to develop empathy.