January not only marks the beginning of a new year and a fresh start, but it’s also a great time to set goals and make resolutions for the forthcoming months ahead. And, while making resolutions may be a great way to put the New Year into perspective, it can sometimes be a tricky concept for your little ones to grasp. Below, we’ve asked Stephanie O’Leary, Psy.D, a Clinical Psychologist specializing in Neuropsychology, mother of two, and author of Parenting in the Real World, to provide us with a handful of tips on how to help children set reasonable and approachable intentions for 2017. Dr. O’Leary believes that once you and your family step away from the all-or-nothing resolutions and focus on more things you intend to work toward in the new year, the impact can make all the difference.
Make a list: “Sit down as a family and brainstorm things each person wants to do, see, and experience. Do your best not to judge or guide your child’s ideas.” Unsure of how long or short your family’s list should be? Dr. O’Leary states that she and her family begin with five.
Hang Them Up: “Help your child by writing down several of their goals and intentions and post them somewhere they can be viewed through the year.” Try the fridge or pin them up in the bathroom, so they can be reminded several times a day.
Discuss: “Talk to your child about practical ways to move toward identified goals and intentions. Kids will need help creating a game plan and connecting today’s decisions with longer term outcomes.”
Come Together: “Work as a family to choose two or three family intentions that everyone is excited to focus effort and energy on. This sets a great example for kids and also creates a sense of connection and partnership that will last throughout the year.” Working on your intentions together as a team can be fun and more rewarding.
Baby Steps: “Be realistic and encourage your child to do the same. Setting lofty intentions can lead to disappointment, so start simple and appreciate every accomplishment, big and small, to set you and your kids up for a great year.”