Making New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for adults—kids can make them too. Pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner says by helping children make and keep resolutions, parents can teach their children important values such as commitment. Dr. Gellner has some tips for helping your children choose a resolution or two, and how best to hold them to it.

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Dr. Gellner: We all make them and we all break them. New Years resolutions, they’re not just for adults. Your kids can make them, too.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering The Healthy Kid Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: New Years is a traditional time to celebrate new beginnings, and kids as young as seven are old enough to think about making their own resolutions. They’re beginning to be mindful and figure out how they can be the best kid they can be. As parents it’s important to practice what we preach. By helping your kids make and keep resolutions you might stick to your own better. Also, you may want to do a family resolution such as to eat healthier. That will also help when they whine about no junk food in the house. You can remind them about the resolution. But remember, you need to stick to it, too.

You can make the resolution fun. Don’t tell them they have to do it in a preachy way because that will turn them off for sure. Start reminding your child of the things they couldn’t do at the beginning of the previous year that they are able to do now. Then have them use the same thought process to think of something they really want to do in the coming year.

You can suggest resolutions but don’t make them for your child. Help them with ideas but let them take ownership of their own goals. Be sure they don’t come up with a long list of resolutions. Stick to, like, two or three, and be sure the goals are specific and doable. Something like I will behave, it’s too general and will be out the window in no time. Try something like, I will behave and go to bed the first time I’m asked to. See? Much more specific.

Finally, follow up periodically with your child about how they’re doing on their resolution, but don’t nag them. Slip ups happen for kids just like they do for adults. The most important rule for your child is to get back on track and for you as the parent is to continue to encourage them.

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