By Lauren Kent, CNN
New Years Resolutions are no longer just for adults.
A new year can also bring new excitement and new growth opportunities for children. They can learn to focus on healthy habits and new goals, just like adults.
New Year’s resolutions can be a beneficial way for children to motivate themselves, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group recommends that parents and guardians sit down with the children to choose a few points to work on in 2022.
CNN spoke with experts and asked parents around the world to share their children’s resolutions to give your family some ideas to get started.
“As a pediatrician and a mom of three, I know how important it is to set healthy goals with children – and to be realistic about those goals,” said Dr. Lanre Falusi, pediatrician in Washington. , DC, at an American Academy of Pediatrics. declaration.
“Kids also love having something to work on and having fun following the sticker charts or receiving praise or awards for achieving those goals, depending on their age. “
“My New Years resolution is to have muscles as big as my daddy!” – Leo Adams, 8, Nebraska
If the idea of ”resolutions” is confusing to your children, you can talk about goals for the new year.
Olivia Parsons, 7, said her New Years resolution was to “eat more candy and chocolate”. (Sounds delicious, but I don’t know what the doctors think of this one.) But when asked for a goal, she added that she wanted to “be good at swimming.”
The idea of a goal may also be easier to grasp for young children. Jack Frezell, 3, from Ontario, Canada, said his goal for next year is to “ride my bike on my own”.
Goal setting can teach kids persistence, focus and the value of planning, according to Gary Latham, secretary of state professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto, who specializes in goal setting.
“The big big impact is that it teaches them initiative,” Latham told CNN. “It teaches them to control their environment instead of depending on mom and dad. “
Latham said that once children are around 7 years old, it is possible for them to set a goal and make their own plan of how to pursue and achieve it. Of course, parental advice is always helpful for children of all ages, including teens.
Both specific and achievable goals are essential, experts say. (A few kids who spoke to CNN dreamed big, saying they wanted to take a trip to Italy or go swimming in Turkey – aspirations that might be difficult for an elementary student without a bank account.)
“It has to be specific; it must be within the reach of the child; and there has to be a reasonable amount of time, ”Latham said, adding that it must also be something the child enjoys.
“The more precise, the better,” added Latham. “If it’s not precise, some children may be inclined to congratulate themselves when it is not deserved. And some kids are likely to berate themselves when it’s not deserved … because it’s too general and so you don’t know if you’re about to hit or miss it within a mile.
Latham also suggests setting sub-goals to break down longer term goals. This can create a more suitable schedule for children and give them progress markers.
“The next thing you know, the overall goal has been achieved, and it gives the kids a sense of accomplishment, excitement and accomplishment,” he said.
“I want to do more painting and more drawing at the nursery.” – Hana Sheikh, 3, London, England
It is also important that the goals of the siblings do not conflict with each other. For example, families should avoid aiming for competing extracurricular activities or overlapping plans on weekends. That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down together to make sure that siblings can support each other in their resolutions.
Sophia Mathews, 8, from Illinois, said she decides to help others in the New Year and “try to be the best of myself.” Her sister Evelyn, 5, said she “wants to learn how to do monkey bars and read” – perfect goals for an older sibling.
“Involving children in decision making and making them fun for the whole family can help turn those resolutions into lasting habits,” Falusi added.
Need more ideas? Here are some age-appropriate suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- I will try to clean my toys by putting them in their place.
- I will try new foods when I can, especially all colors of vegetables.
- I’ll learn how to help clear the table when I’m done eating.
- I will do my best to be kind to other children who need a friend or who seem sad or lonely.
5 to 12 years old:
- I will drink water every day.
- I’ll try to find a physical activity (like playing cat, skipping, dancing, or riding a bike) or a sport that I enjoy and do it at least three times a week.
- I’ll 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 the 8-10 hours of sleep that my body needs each night.
- I will do what I can to help in my community. I will give some of my time to help others, working with community groups or others who help those in need. These activities will make me feel better about myself and my community.
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