1- Clean up my toys
2- Go pee in the toilet
3- Be gentle with the dogs
Huh? OK so maybe these are not my resolutions, but they are my 2 and a half year olds, and we made them together. Mine well, they are the usual, become more organized, eat healthier, spend less, and get my son back on a routine. The holidays tend to throw some people off their schedule and I admit, I am one of those people. Since before Christmas he’s been enjoying sleeping in until 10:30 am, napping from 4pm to 6pm, and calls it a night at 12am, if I’m lucky. I guess the good thing about that was that he brought in the New Year with us!
So now, as we head into 2012, I wanted to share some ideas about how to involve your kids in making resolutions and encouraging positive change for 2012. This is not only a great idea for older kids, but also sets a challenge for preschoolers as well. Goal setting is part of life and helping our children set and accomplish goals at any age is important.
Just the other day I said to my son, “Let’s try to clean up your playroom, and before you start another activity you have to tidy up what you were doing.” He said “OK mama no problem”. Well sure enough, while singing his own version of the tidy up song, he now cleans up his toys.
At times we underestimate what children are capable of, and we assume that getting what we want out of our children will be a battle. We shouldn’t. Just like adults, kids of all ages like challenges too and of course offering rewards along the way works wonders. But remember, just like all of us, a child wants our sincere appreciation and attention.
A child who is supported and encouraged each day, with reaching these small goals, will be more likely to turn them into positive permanent habits. The challenge is more for us moms and dads; to keep noticing and acknowledging these little achievements along the way. How many of us have made the decision that we wanted our kids to help tidy up, fix their bed, help make their own school lunches, or feed the dog? Or what about wanting to read more with our kids, only to not follow through because life got really busy?
This year we set goals together. One because he understands, two because I want to teach him that if you try your best you can reach all your goals and three, because I need to be held accountable to someone if I don’t do my part!
My suggestion is to set a goal for each year of age and one that mom or dad would like to see reached, age appropriate of course. Make a visual or chart and post it in a place where your child will see it. This will remind them to stay on track and keep focussed, instead of you having to do so. Easier for you to say “Check your chart” than feel like you are nagging them to stay on track with their goals. You can even place stickers beside the goal to track the progress or completion. Perhaps even decide on a big reward or celebration if you prefer once the goal is met, say a special family dinner, a new board game or a trip to Great Wolf Lodge! A fun way to reward your children, and yourself!
Please feel free to share your resolutions with us by commenting below, and throughout 2012 we will also share what goals we are helping kids set and achieve at our daycares.
I wish you all a happy and healthy new year! And good luck everyone!