Challenging young people to think about their goals and how they can achieve them.
After the holidays, New Year’s rolls around, invigorating people everywhere to start anew and set goals for the coming year. It’s also a great time to engage young people in your life around positive, attainable goals for the year ahead – both as individuals and as a family.
Setting goals, or New Year’s resolutions in this case, helps young people improve communication, decision-making skills and self-confidence – challenging them to think about their goals and how they can achieve them.
To start, sit down with the young person in your life and talk about their achievements in the past year. Did they learn to read? Learn a new skill? Achieve in sports or the arts? What are they most proud of?
By reflecting on these accomplishments, young people can think about their goals for the coming year with a positive outlook and the confidence to achieve it.
Below are five fun and kid-friendly New Year’s resolution ideas to talk about with the young person in your life.
Make a new friend - Life is better with a friend by your side. Making friends builds empathy, confidence and can open a child’s world to new points of view and opportunities. It also encourages social-emotional development, an essential part of growing up. Talking with your young person about what kind of friendship they’d like to have also reminds them what kind of friend they want to be.
Have more fun as a family - Spending quality time with family or special people in your life is critical for a well-balanced life, but can be easy to push to the bottom of a busy to-do list. Try to carve out time once a week to do something together everyone enjoys, such as game night, a family meal or a special outing to reconnect and have fun on a regular basis. Try new activities together, like visiting a new-to-you part of your community or each family member planning an activity for the family.
Try new foods - Challenge kids and teens in your life to step outside their comfort zone and try new foods! Exploring foods is a great way to experience other cultures and introduce picky eaters and budding foodies alike to exciting new flavors. Add in dinners from different cuisines on a weekly basis and talk about the flavors, the ingredients and the cultures of these dishes. Or try a “rainbow” tasting theme, focusing on one color at a time to try colorful fruits and vegetables until you’ve completed a full rainbow. Be sure to get your young person involved in the meal prep and cooking – which not only helps them be more interested and invested in the meal (and more likely to eat it), but is also a way to teach responsibility.
Participate in sports or physical activities - Regular physical activity has positive physical and mental benefits for young people (and everyone) and can teach life skills including teamwork, conflict-resolution, resilience, and stress-management. Organized sports are great, but there are many ways families can be active together, whether it’s kicking around the soccer ball, creating a fun obstacle course or turning up the music for a dance party!
Show more empathy - Building empathy is critical for young people’s social-emotional development. It helps them consider things from another person’s point of view. Kids and teens pick up on role models' behavior, from how they treat a restaurant server to ways they a support a friend in crisis. Use moments of conflict with siblings or friends to discuss others’ perspectives and help your child begin to practice active listening and empathy. Taking part in a service project to help people in need is another good way to develop empathy.