Setting New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

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New Year’s Eve is such a great chance to spend time with your family. Not only is it an opportunity reflect on the year as it comes to a close, but it’s also a wonderful time to focus on the future, including for children. Read on for tips on how to create and set New Year’s Resolutions for Kids.

image shows two new year's eve party hats in red and gold

Happy New Year! (almost) Our family truly loves New Year’s Eve and ringing in a new year. It is my parent’s wedding anniversary too, so it’s always held a special place in my heart.

Gradually, New Year’s Eve has shifted from being party central for my husband and I to being a quiet night in with our kids. The New Year’s Eve I was pregnant with my oldest, we started a tradition of setting goals for the year ahead. It’s become one of my favorite parts of the holiday!

This year I’m excited to be including our 3 year old in the New Year’s Eve fun, and that includes the resolutions! New Year’s resolutions don’t have to just be for adults, and I’m excited this year to start working on New Year’s resolutions for our kids.

Goal setting is a big thing for our family, as small business owners. We love to look at where we want to be this time next year, and set a lot of goals as a family. Goal setting is also an important part of a child’s development, as it helps to teach them about setting commitments and following through (even from a young age).

New Year’s resolutions for kids are a great example of setting a goal that even young kids can understand and is a great way to help even a young family member start thinking about the future. Here are simple and practical ways to help your growing kids make New Year’s resolutions.

new year's resolutions for kids

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How to Set New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

Wondering how to even go about setting New Year’s resolutions for kids? Making resolutions with your children can become a fun part of your tradition, and is a great opportunity for a little family bonding. The great thing is it doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun, and kids of all ages can get in on the planning.

If your children are old enough, a great way to get started is to first help your kids understand why we set resolutions or goals in the first place for a new year. According to many experts, kids as young as 6 are “old enough to think about what a New Year’s resolution is and to make their own—yet parents can still help guide them”.

Why do we celebrate New Year’s Eve?

For younger children, they might be curious why we even celebrate New Year’s Eve in the first place (especially if they haven’t really been part of the celebration before). It’s a good idea to start here, as they might not totally grasp the concept of a new year.

An easy way to explain this is that New Year’s Eve marks the end of the year we are in, and the beginning of the next. Visuals are helpful! A few mom friends shared with me that they have used a calendar to show this, as well as a clock.

Share with your children that New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time to celebrate: celebrate everything we’ve accomplished in the past year, celebrate new beginnings and set new goals.

Describe how New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time to celebrate new beginnings and that people make resolutions as a way of setting out their goals for the year ahead. Our family personally chooses to only set resolutions or goals that are positive.

family celebrating new years eve

New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Kids

Wondering how to set New Year’s resolutions with your kids in a way that’s fun? Here are a few great tips.

Set Resolutions as a Family and Lead By Example

Your kids learn so much from you as a parent, so bring your own resolutions! It’s a great opportunity to set your resolutions and goals together as a family, and to talk about why you are setting certain goals. Share with your children your own new year’s resolutions.

For example, one of my goals is usually about growing my business. An easy way to explain this to my boys would be that I have a goal of doing my best at my job. School is their job, so that makes sense to their minds.

As your kids watch you reflect on your own life and decide on areas you want to improve and work on, they will soon follow suit and want to do the same. Only make resolutions you intend to stick to and really are committed to. If you give up after only a week, the chances are that your kids will probably do the same!

Be sure to also make a few goals for all of you together as a family, like “Let’s visit Grandpa more often” or “Let’s plan a trip to Disney World.” Family resolutions are a great place to start.

Think over the previous year together. What were the best parts? What would you like to see more of? A good resolution can also be a great way to start the talk about the importance of setting both short-term goals and long-term goals too.

Keep Happiness and Positive Energy in Mind

We are big in helping our boys remember that every day is a new day, full of new possibilities and opportunities. When it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions, we try to keep this happy, positive vibe at the forefront of our conversations with them, too.

A good place to start is by going over all of the amazing, positive things your littles did over the past year. Highlight the bright spots, like learning their alphabet, riding a bike for the first time, getting an award at school or even trying a new food!

Ask them to think about something they can do this year that they couldn’t the year before. Use that conversation to help them look to the future and identify something they really want to be able to do this year. What skills would they like to improve? Is there anything they can do that will make their lives happier?

Young kids might need more help than older ones. Some good probing questions include “what do you want to learn how to do this year?” and “what is something that would make you happy?”

When you talk to your kids about setting goals and resolutions, remember to stay positive and not turn it into a lecture about the things they do wrong and need to work on. That’s the fastest way to make your kids NOT want to do this. New Year’s is a time of celebration, and setting goals that remain positive is a great way to help your children feel encouraged.

celebrating new year's eve with kids
New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be just for the grown ups!

Gently Suggest Ideas For Resolutions

If your children are still pretty young, it can be tempting to just tell them what their resolutions should be, but most experts agree this isn’t the best idea. You want your children to take ownership over their goals, no matter how small they might be!

Gently guide your child and help them clarify the ideas they have, making sure they’re age appropriate and achievable. For example, as much as my 3 year old might want to learn how to fly like his favorite superhero, I want to be sure he’s setting goals that he can actually accomplish with hard work (though that would be pretty cool). You want your kids to feel good about reaching their goals by the next New Year!

A good starting place for little kids is to come up with categories to help them with brainstorming. A few good ideas are school goals, friendship goal, personal goals, good habits, new skills and helping goals.

For example: Are they kind to their siblings, as helpful as they could be at home, or do they need to work on being more patient? Is there something they could do better with at school, or a sport or skill they want to master? How about starting a chore chart, or ways to make an allowance (starting a kid lemonade stand is a great idea for a first job, too).

if you need a few New Year’s resolution ideas for kids, here’s a few that are appropriate for many ages:

I will keep my room clean.

I will make some new friends.

I will be nicer to my sister and brother.

If I feel like I’m getting mad, I will walk away and calm down.

I will work hard to make good grades in school.

I will be gentle with my brother/sister.

I will brush my teeth each morning and night.

I will work on healthy habits.

I will talk openly about my feelings.

I won’t talk back to my parents.

If I need help, I will ask for it.

I will have a fruit or veggie with every meal.

I will try new foods.

I will be a kinder friend.

I will practice acts of kindness.

I will keep my room neater.

I will get out and play every sunny day.

I will put things away when I’m done using them.

Your kids might include a goal that you don’t think is a good one for a New Year’s resolutions, but be careful not to dismiss their ideas! Use it as an opportunity to talk to them about what they’re thinking. Leave the ultimate decisions up to them, so they will take ownership of their goals. Kids are more likely to work towards goals that they set for themselves, versus goals that mom and dad lay out for them. Help them be sure they set an appropriate resolution for their age too.

Come Up With a Plan to Achieve Their Goals

Setting big goals can be overwhelming for anyone (even adults) if we don’t know what steps we need to take to achieve them and turn them into reality.

For young kids, this can feel even more challenging since they aren’t as used to goal setting. Help your children work out some ideas of where to start and how they can take steps to reach their goals. Turning a good intention into a habit is one of the most important skills we can teach our kids.

We want our kids to be successful, and one of the best ways to do that when it comes to goal setting is to break things down into easy steps. Remember: it takes 6 weeks to create a new habit! A great way to help your child achieve this new goal (that will hopefully become a habit) is by breaking it down into 6 small, easy steps (or small goals), practicing a new one each week.

For example, if your child wants to be tidier, the first week they could focus on making their bed every day, the second week put their dirty clothes in the hamper, the third week pick up their toys after playing, etc. You could create a simple habit tracker as a visual for these steps, too! This is the perfect time to build a good habit too.

Here are some other examples as starting place:

I will be gentler to my brother… by only playing with him softly.

I will be more helpful… by putting my dishes in the dishwasher.

I will learn how to play the piano… by practicing for 30 minutes every day.

Let your child come up with some of their own new year’s goals.

Make the Evening a Celebration

Part of the fun of New Year’s Eve is the party! Make your night fun and a great time by being interactive with the kids to help it feel more special and like a big deal.

Don’t forget a fun activity! If you need some inspiration, I’ve collected a few of my favorite New Year’s Eve Activities for Kids here, or you can check out this free printable New Years Eve Scavenger Hunt for an easy new year’s resolutions worksheet, too (it’s a free download)!

Don’t forget to also order your party supplies. Setting resolutions is so much more fun with a fun party popper and hat. Looking for more easy items to make the night extra fun? Click here to check out what you can snag on Amazon (which means they will also arrive quickly, even if you’ve waited until the last minute)!

Following Up on Goal Progress

In the weeks following New Year, it’s important not to nag your kids about sticking to their resolutions. Remember that you want to continue to promote positivity and the importance of them working to honor these goals on their own.

Try placing a gentle reminder of the goals they set somewhere they can see it without it feeling overwhelming. We put our family goals on our fridge!

Once in a while, check in with the entire family on how things are going with their New Year’s resolutions. Be sure to also talk about how you’re doing with your own goals, to help your children learn how you stick to the plans you make for yourself.

Be sure to celebrate the little wins, and offer to lend support if they need it. Positive goal setting for the year can be such a great way for your family to bond, and setting New Year’s resolutions for kids can be a wonderful way to make new memories.

Setting New Year’s Resolutions for Kids Can Be Fun!

Here’s to the new year! I hope this post has helped your brainstorm how to start the new year off with a fresh start. Setting new resolutions as a family can become a fun tradition!

Setting New Year’s resolutions for kids is a good time to get the whole family involved, and end the year in the right direction. Remember, you can use this time as a teachable moment with your children too, setting the stage for what realistic goals look like, and how you can work each year to be a in a better place than the year before!

Has your family already started brainstorming their goals and resolutions? Any tips that you’ve tried in the past that your kids have loved? What’s your big new year resolution this upcoming year? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you good things in the new year!

new years resolutions for kids

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