Introducing New Year’s Resolutions to Kids

One of the most popular New Year’s Eve traditions is setting a resolution (or several, if you’re ambitious) for the next year. Whether it’s to travel more, hit the gym, go vegan, or pursue another objective that’s been sitting on the back burner, we use this time to set a goal for the year to come. But how do you explain the practice of New Year’s resolutions to your kids?

While their resolutions may not be as mature as an adult’s, goal-setting is a great skill to cultivate early in life, and it’s never too soon to start with your kids. Whether it’s in a future career or in their personal life, kids need to learn how to set intentions and persevere to achieve their aims. This fortitude takes practice. Introducing a tradition of New Year’s resolutions is a great way to make it a fun routine for your kids as well!

new year's resolutions

Make New Year’s Resolutions a Fun Tradition

Establishing a family tradition of making New Year’s resolutions introduces your kids to important values and skills like self-improvement, planning, and commitment. Many kids today grow up burning with a desire to change the world, and equipping them with the skills to do so is essential. This practice of reflecting and goal-setting introduces intentional living to your kids, which will serve them well in years to come.

Start planning your resolutions a few weeks before New Year’s Eve by reflecting over the past year. Ask your kids direct questions. For example: how they have enjoyed this year? What did they like or dislike about it? Ask them what they might have done differently to turn around negative situations in hindsight. Share some of your own experiences about the year with them, so they can see you working through the same process.

After reflecting on the past, ask them what they want to focus on in the new year. Set goals for yourself, let them set goals for themselves, and then come up with some group goals for the whole family, like playing a board game together after dinner two days a week.

Once you are happy with the resolutions you have discussed, create a goals chart for the new year. Decorate it with your kids and make sure all the resolutions you discussed are listed. Place the chart in a space where it will be visible all year round.

New Year's Resolutions for Children

Be a Role Model

When introducing New Year’s resolutions to your kids, it’s important to take the lead. After all, kids learn best from example. Reflecting on your own goals and aspirations and then giving room for your kids to participate is a great way to start this process.

Think of a practical example in your life you would like to work on. Perhaps you want to walk more every day. Discuss this goal with your kids and ask them if they would like to join you as you start this new habit. Let them be as involved as possible in your goals because this will spur them to start thinking of their own.

Base New Year’s Resolutions on Age, Personality, and Temperament

When introducing a new life skill to your kids, keeping it relatable is important. Set resolutions with your child’s age in mind. Younger kids might work on cleaning up their bedrooms more frequently, whereas older kids can work on being more attentive with their homework. Just remember, you want your kids to buy into the concept of setting goals—so keep it fun! Placing too much pressure on them might make it feel too much like work.

You can gently guide them towards behavior-based goals too. Maybe they need to listen better to instructions or work on not reacting so quickly in situations. You can talk through these goals and find ways to work towards them.

The bottom line: when a goal is important to your kids, they will be invested in the outcome. As your child grows, you can look at more age-appropriate resolutions to focus on. Follow the same pattern and set goals that will help them grow and evolve into more insightful, capable versions of themselves.

Be Specific and Take Baby Steps

Once you’ve set a goal, you have to follow up on it. This is something we as adults also need to practice. Too many New Year’s resolutions get abandoned a month, two months in, because we fail to check-in or aim too ambitiously or broadly. A goal with no action plan is just a dream!

Remember that your children’s New Year’s resolutions may be equally challenging for them to achieve. For this reason, it’s important to celebrate the small victories. Be sure to check in often to see what progress they have made. Ask your childcare providers and teachers to keep tabs too, so that it feels like a true group effort. Working as a team, you can keep those targets front of mind and help your kids achieve them. The sense of satisfaction they will feel once they do will be amazing.

New Year’s Resolutions Are a Group Effort

Life is a series of setting and achieving goals, but to do so requires perseverance and intention. New Year’s Eve is a great time to begin introducing these two critical values to your kids from an early age, by making resolutions an annual tradition.

When planning for your New Year’s Eve, be sure to tell your babysitter about your kids’ resolution planning. Maybe they can help brainstorm before the holiday, and they can certainly help your children keep on target after.

When it comes to finding an amazing babysitter who can help facilitate these important value-building activities, it helps to know where to look. Nanno provides an excellent service to assist parents searching for the right sitter to meet their family’s needs and traditions. Sitters on the app are thoroughly vetted and screened, ensuring they are trained and qualified to care for your children. And since the Nanno network stretches across most metro U.S. regions, you’re sure to find someone to help! Sign up today and find the right sitter for your holiday celebrations.

Author image
About Wynona March
Seattle, WA
Wynona is a writer and mom, with three children under age 6 and a penchant for crafting. She loves guiding her kids through projects of all kinds, from cooking to crafting to building a better robot.