Help your child get excited about the New Year, with opportunities to improve, excel and expand her horizons. You can reflect on the past year together, praising her for all of her successes and good deeds, and then talk about the changes she'd like to make and the improvements she wants to be able to reflect on next year.
Encourage your child to set realistic, achievable goals that will help him excel in school. Use the New Year as an opportunity to review his successes and shortcomings over the past few months and set goals to improve over the remainder of the school year, creating habits that will also help him to excel in future grades. For example, if he's been poky in the mornings, having a difficult time getting to class before the morning bell, encourage him to challenge himself to get up 10 minutes earlier every morning, lay out his clothing and school supplies the night before or any other positive change that will get him to class on time. He can resolve to designate a particular hour every evening to homework and study to improve his grades, or challenge himself to speak up more in class. You can encourage your child to set grade goals, such as bringing a “C” in social studies up to a “B,” but use these other, smaller objectives as well to provide a specific path to reach the ultimate goal.
Family & Friends Resolutions
Help your child build stronger friendships this year, get along with her peers and develop her communication and interpersonal skills. If she's been rather shy, encourage her to talk to more people. She can reach out to a new student at school, suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics, or resolve to avoid teasing the kids in her class if she's been a little bit of a bully. Include family resolutions on the New Year's list, too, such as spending more time together, committing to a movie night once a week or learning to talk out difficulties with less temper. With a little prompting, you might even be able to convince her to add her sibling relationship to her New Year's resolutions. It's the perfect opportunity to try to view things from someone else's perspective; all that nagging is just his way of telling her she's his idol.
With a plethora of gadgets and gizmos to make physical activity less appealing, and readily available junk foods on every store shelf, New Year's resolutions are an opportune time to encourage your child to commit to a healthier year with a variety of small, consistent changes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids make dietary resolutions for the New Year, such as eating more fruits and veggies each day -- at least two servings of each -- and substituting fruit drinks and soda with low-fat milk and water. Help your child explore a variety of different physical activities, such as sports, dancing and swimming. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids commit to taking part in heart-healthy activities at least three times each week.
Helping out in the community benefits your child just as much as it helps out others; it contributes to building his self confidence, seeing the impact he has on others around him and it teaches him about social responsibility, too. Help your child find a volunteering opportunity that suits his personality. If he's an animal enthusiast, he can commit to a few hours of volunteer work at an animal shelter every week, a social youngster can volunteer a few hours visiting with the elderly at a long-term care center, while your energetic youngster can get fit training for a marathon in support of a children's foundation -- an opportunity for you and your child to make a New Year's resolution together.