A new year means a new start for many people, and that means making New Year’s resolutions. For many adults, that means cutting out certain bad habits or hitting the gym. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity for parents and caregivers to teach children to use this time of year to create lifelong habits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has some tips for New Year’s resolutions for kids to help them learn how to set goals and follow through on them.
- I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
- I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
- I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones.
- I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
- I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help or am scared.
- I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.
Kids 5 to 12 years old
- I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at special times.
- I will put on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
- I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week.
- I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
- I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
- I’ll be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.
- I will never encourage or even watch bullying, and will join with others in telling bullies to stop.
- I’ll never give out private information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay.
- I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.
- I promise to follow our household rules for video games and internet use.
Kids 13 years old and older
- I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only at special times.
- I will take care of my body through physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.
- I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities. I promise to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.
- I will help out in my community – through giving some of my time to help others, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
- When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.
- When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
- When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied, or making risky choices, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
- I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without forcing them to do something or using violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.
- I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco/cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol.
- I agree not to use a cell phone or text while driving and to always use a seat belt.