My son’s football coach always says, “Goal setters are go-getters.” and I couldn’t agree more. For my family, this applies to looking forward to the new year. I know there is a stigma behind setting New Year’s resolutions. People set lofty goals that are unattainable, dreaming of becoming someone far from themselves. My family looks at the resolutions we make on January 1st as opportunities.
Kids are Natural Goal Setters
Because I’m a mom, my mind meanders through thoughts like the Missouri River. If I don’t physically write down a to-do list, my lesson plan, or my goal for a particular week, I’m a little lost. I enjoy how goal setting is a form of refinement, and this is something my kids enjoy as well.
Two years ago, we sat around the dinner table and I asked each of my kids about a resolution he or she had for the new year. To my surprise, their ideas were right on the tips of their tongues. My twelve-year-old’s goal was grade-focused, and preferred to keep his documented in his phone; my nine-year-old’s was behavior focused, and he chose to write his down; and my six-year-old wanted to learn a skill. She chose to remember it on her own. It was then that I realized kids may enjoy setting resolutions as well as adults. They need to be attainable, enjoyable, and realistic if they are ever going to stick.
Depending on the ages of the children, there are so many fun resolutions families can set. When I think of the things I’d like to achieve, I try to categorize them by: mind, body, and soul. I usually focus on a goal for my mind, one that pushes me physically, and one that pushes me spiritually. Here are some ideas for kids:
Any resolution that focuses on sharpening the mind is great for little ones. Learning how to read a book, put together a model airplane independently, or learning an instrument are all ways to sharpen our skills. My oldest son wanted to get all A’s and B’s or 1’s and 2’s in his middle school classes during the spring semester. He had a plan for how to achieve this, and he attained his goal. My daughter wanted to read one book by book light on her own each week. This makes bedtime easier, and her reading skill has grown. My nine-year-old wanted to write his own comic books and we have rough drafts all over our house. My focus was to read many of the classics I didn’t get to as a young person. All of these goals were attempted throughout this year, and some form of each was achieved.
Goals for the body are almost always shamed by critics everywhere; however, these are fun for kids and adults alike. Kids can set goals for a sport they’ve attempted; they can join mom or dad for a run during the week; they can attempt some form of yoga; or they can simply be good to their bodies with more fruits and vegetables. My desire last year was to feed my family nothing but whole foods. Wow did I fail miserably, but the reminder was in my head, and they definitely ate better than the previous year because of the goal. Resolutions that force us to take care of our bodies are the most fun because it encourages families to get active together.
This goal is usually pretty personal. Spiritual goals that guide us in a direction that is comfortable for us is great, but I also view this category as self care. Personally, I can get as wound up as a chihuahua about things I cannot control, so my soul focus this year will center around calming down and breathing through stress. For my children, I encourage them to find friends that make them feel great about being true to themselves, giving to others instead of taking so much, and putting as much light into the world as they can. For little kids, using their words to communicate is good for the soul. Choosing to talk through an issue instead of getting upset; being nice to a sibling as much as they can; or sharing toys at daycare are all ways they can set their soul goal.
I know New Year’s resolutions can get a bad rap, but they can be fun for the betterment of ourselves and our families. Kids can get involved at very young ages, and trying to refine ourselves with those we love the most is a rewarding way to celebrate a new beginning. Happy New Year to you and yours.