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The New Year’s resolution can be a fun and exciting way to introduce children to the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Experts believe that children can start as early as the age of seven with the act of formulating and following through on a New Year’s resolution. This mindful undertaking involves thought and determination that can help children learn to achieve larger goals as adults.

This activity can also be a bonding opportunity for families. By individually setting goals and collectively achieving them, children can learn from their parents’ example. Through leading by example, parents can teach children that it’s important not only to expect great things, but also to work towards them. Many parents find the SMART method for setting goals to be helpful. SMART stands for specific, motivating, attainable, relevant, and trackable.

By setting specific goals instead of broad ones, children will find aspirations easier to process. Encourage children to start small, simple, and specific. This also helps with motivation, if resolutions are specifically worded, motivating toward the end result is easier. That makes resolutions attainable, giving the child a sense of accomplishment rather than being overwhelmed by a broader spectrum resolution. 

Making sure the goal is relevant to the child’s situation is another way to make it more attainable. Being able to track progress to a goal is also a means of motivation. To sum that up, if a child wants to keep a neater, tidier bedroom, a resolution could be to make their bed every morning. That is one small specific goal, easily attainable and relevant to a larger change. Keeping a chart to track success with forming this new habit creates the motivation to continue forward.

It’s important to make resolutions a ritual affair, keeping the schedule and doing it regularly helps set the tone for long-term goals in the future. Helping children to grow into successful adults includes instilling them with the proper tools for goal-setting and accomplishment, which instills a sense of responsibility. A well thought out New Year’s resolution is one of the small ways to do this that can have a lasting impact. Being mindful of this, and being SMART about it, helps create responsibly-minded individuals for the future.