How To Help Your Child Make New Year's Resolutions

How To Help Your Child Make New Year's Resolutions thumbnail

A new year is near, which for many of us means it’s time to set goals for the next 12 months. Setting clear objectives for the new year can have a great impact on your child’s academic performance and general development, especially if you’re aware of what your child should be working towards.

If you’re looking for effective ways to set goals for your child, or interested in creating family New Year’s resolutions, keep reading!

1. Reflect on the current year

Child reflecting.

Reflecting on the last 12 months can help you with goal-setting, decision-making, and prepare you for success in the upcoming year. The art of self-reflection is great for kids of all ages and adults alike, as hindsight can demonstrate someone’s biggest strengths and areas for improvement.

Here are some prompts to help you get started:

  • What (if any) goals did you and your child set for this past year? What did you focus on the most when you were setting these goals? Was it the development of good habits? Perhaps you wanted to focus on increasing your physical activity level? Take note of your previous goals and make a list, ready for the next step!
  • Tick off all the goals your child achieved in the past 12 months. These can be big achievements, like improving their academic performance, or small wins, such as developing and maintaining a healthy habit.
  • Looking at your list of previous goals, are there any that have not been ticked off? If so, do you think they’re still relevant to your child’s academic and/or personal development?
  • What went well? What didn’t work? How did your child achieve some of their goals?

2. Talk to your child about their achievements and struggles

Once you’re done reflecting on the past year, you should discuss how your child feels about their achievements, and talk through some of the challenges they faced. The key to long-lasting habits that stem from setting goals is to celebrate even the smallest achievements and learn from past mistakes.

Here are some useful questions to ask:

  • What are they proud to have achieved last year?
  • What topics did they enjoy learning about the most at school/at home?
  • What was their biggest academic challenge and how did they feel about it?
  • How can you help them achieve their goals next year?

3. Set realistic and achievable goals

Child celebrating, holding a trophy.

Setting achievable goals is very important, as you don’t want to create unrealistic expectations or objectives that can’t be achieved. While these resolutions should be challenging, they should also be attainable and offer encouragement and motivation.

Here are some aspects to consider when setting realistic goals:

  • Are your goals measurable? Can the entire family support these goals? For example, if a resolution is to become a better reader, it’s important to dedicate some time (preferably on a daily basis), to ensure that this goal can be achieved. This means that if you work, and your child has extracurricular activities or attends after school clubs, you could devote some time to reading in the evenings.
  • Would timed-bound goals work for you and your child? Having “timed” goals can increase motivation and act as a way to encourage your child to achieve the goals set in a more effective way.
  • New Year’s resolutions aren’t just about becoming a better student! There are many aspects that can impact your child’s school life, so it’s important to encourage them to set goals that aren’t directly linked to education, which can include:

4. Ensure that the goals you set for your child are age-appropriate

Keeping your child’s age in mind when setting goals for the new year is crucial.

For example, it would be unrealistic to aim for a preschooler to learn how to write fluently without any prior practice. Instead, you could focus on working on pre-writing skills, to ensure that you build a strong foundation for when your child is ready to start their writing journey.

Teach them that focusing on emotional and more personal goals is also extremely valuable. Here are some goals that focus on emotional and personal development:

  • Work on building self-esteem and confidence by practicing positive affirmations.
  • Prioritize family time at least once per week.
  • Aim for a random act of kindness everyday (it can be as little as complimenting someone).
  • Try new foods!

5. Check in on your child’s goals

Parent talking to their child, sat on the couch, looking at a laptop.

Once your child’s goals for the new year are set and they’ve started working towards achieving them, make sure you check in on their progress.

Here are some things to look out for and discuss with your child:

  • Talk about ongoing challenges. If your child is worried about not achieving a specific goal they set at the beginning of the year, they should feel comfortable to voice their feelings to family members. Discussing ongoing issues is also a great way to develop emotional intelligence, resilience, and communication skills. It’s a win-win no matter what the outcome is!
  • Once you’ve had that initial discussion, it’s always a good idea to get feedback from your child. Ask them what you can do to best support them, and how they’d like to move forward with this particular goal.
  • Celebrate small achievements! Did your child win student of the week at school? Perhaps they took part in a writing competition? Whatever small wins you can celebrate, make a “big deal” out of them - this will motivate your child to keep working hard!

6. Prepare for setbacks

Setbacks are completely normal, and they’re likely to happen. The concept of change can be difficult for children to deal with, but they also provide an opportunity to teach them that sometimes, things don’t go exactly to plan. If your child understands this concept, they’ll be able to more easily adapt to new goals without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.

It’s important to show them that change can be positive, and ultimately help them achieve their goals in a more efficient way. Always remember that the goals you and your child set for the year can, and will most likely, change, and that’s okay!

7. Make goal-setting fun

Goal-setting can feel like a very serious activity, especially for children. Making it fun shows that, while it’s important to have aspirations and goals for the new year, they don’t need to be taken too seriously!

Here are some ways to make goal-setting fun for the whole family:

  • Plan a family board or video game night
  • Set up a tea party
  • Make vision boards together
  • Suggest goals for other family members
  • Create a New Year’s resolutions interactive presentation

8. Improve your child’s skills

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on laptop screen.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your child’s reading & writing skills, you need to try Night Zookeeper!

Our award-winning program uses gamified learning to keep children entertained, engaged, and excited to learn, while boosting their skills in a fantastically fun way.

Sign up now and get a FREE 7-day trial!

Got any questions? Email us at [email protected], or reach out to us via social media:

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