New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for grown-ups anymore. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents and guardians sit down with kids to help them pick out some goals to work toward in 2022. They say kids can learn to focus on healthy habits and new goals just like adults and that making resolutions can help kids get motivated and give them a sense of accomplishment.
Pediatrician and mom of three Dr. Lanre Falusi says it’s important to set healthy goals with kids and to be realistic about those goals. She explains that kids love having something to work toward and they have fun keeping track of their progress with sticker charts and getting praise and rewards as they reach their goals. Gary Latham, professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Toronto, who specializes in goal setting, says setting goals can teach children persistence, focus and the value of planning. He adds that it teaches them initiative and “control over their environment.”
The key is choosing goals that are specific and feasible. Latham says the more specific, the better and that the goal has to be something the child values. Need some ideas? Try these age-appropriate suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- I will try hard to clean up my toys by putting them where they belong.
- I will try new foods when I can, especially all different colors of vegetables.
- I will do my best to be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.
Ages five to 12:
- I will drink water every day.
- I will try to find a physical activity (like playing tag, dancing or riding my bike) or a sport I like and do it at least three times a week.
- I will try to save time to read for fun.
- I will do my best to take care of my body through fun physical activity.
- I will try to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep that my body needs each night.
- I will give some of my time to help others, working with community groups or others that help people in need.