Give kids a hand in setting meaningful goals for a great new year

No one totally gets a mulligan. What’s done is done, and that holds true for both kids and grown-ups alike. On the other hand, the threshold of a new year offers an ideal time to pause, reflect, and consider what might merit change. Think of it less in terms of resolutions than achievable goals. When one door (or year!) closes, another one opens, so help little ones walk through it with optimism and confidence.

Last year on her Thirty Handmade Days blog, host Mique put together a great New Year’s Resolutions/Year in Review tool for sharing with kids. It gets them thinking (and talking!) about their greatest lesson learned, hardest thing this year, a favorite memory, and what they loved about this year. Looking forward to the new year, the list includes what they want to learn and what they want to get better at, as well as identifying goals. She noted, “If they are too young to write it down, you can interview them and ask them the questions to fill in their answers.”

We can view even the traditional “resolution” as goal. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently published “Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids.” They categorize them by age, including preschoolers, those 5 to 12, and 13 and up, including tips for physical and emotional health as well as practical ideas. The list for the youngest include things such as “I will clean up my toys by putting them where they belong,” and “I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.” The mid-range includes a wide range of tips, among them online safety such as “I will keep my personal information safe and not share 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 asking my parent if it is okay.”  Another one is “I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.”

For teens the list includes “I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without forcing them to do something or using violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return,” and “I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. I will also avoid the use of e-cigarettes.”

Whether viewed as resolutions, goals, or even perhaps somewhat contractual terms, they offer super talking points for getting parents and kids communicating about issues that affect kids’ wellness, hopes, dreams, and futures.

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Whatever our age.