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ParenTalk-New Year Resolutions to make as a family and helping your children achieve them

ParenTalk-New Year Resolutions to make as a family and helping your children achieve them

Every new year brings with it hopes for a better year. A new year is a time when most of us resolve to become better versions of ourselves. We resolve to break old habits to embrace healthier ones. A new year resolution is more of a ritual that helps us plan, ideate, and come up with ways to achieve it. However, mindless resolutions only stay on diaries and never turn into reality. This demotivates people to resolve further or makes setting new year resolutions a futile activity. Have you ever wondered how it’d be to make resolutions as a family? After all, it is easier to work as a team towards common goals. The motivation and accountability that family resolutions facilitate are unmatched.

Benefits of setting new year goals as a family:

Goal setting is important for kids because it attaches a sense of purpose to their actions. It teaches them important life skills like planning and working towards achievement. It also helps them to grow into accountable and perseverant adults. They are also at a malleable stage in life and helping them to form long-term habits plays a significant role in shaping habits. 

Setting family-centered goals helps to spend meaningful time together and improves family bonding. It also helps adults model goal setting and commitment to the children.

How to think of goals that will form the basis of your new year resolutions?

Here are some ways in which you can approach family goal setting and come up with resolutions for 2022 that will benefit the kids and the adults:

  • Think of habits that you want your child to have as an adult
  • Look for opportunities for teamwork
  • Identify your child’s goals or dissatisfactions that you can turn into goals

How to help your children to work towards the goals?

If your resolutions involve drastic routine changes or a lot of effort, children can get easily demotivated. Here is how you can ensure that resolutions don’t stay unfulfilled.

Practice what you preach: Modeling the right behavior is the most important aspect of being a parent. Let them know of your resolutions and show them how you are putting in efforts to achieve them. They will look up to you and derive motivation to work towards their goals. For instance, if you have resolved to eat healthy as a family and you are hiding chocolates to munch, they will eventually figure out. This will drive across a message that it is ok to not be serious about resolutions.

Stay positive and hopeful about your resolutions: You may have a history of failing to achieve your resolution, but do not let that vibe reach your kids. Your tone makes all the difference when you talk about it to your kids. Apart from this, do not preach or use a rude tone when you tell them to work towards their goals. You can start by appreciating them for the things they achieved last year. The more positive you are, the more motivated the children will be.

Let them think of some goals: You can ask your children questions about their dreams and desires. Ask them what they’d like to learn or if there is something they’d like to improve. You can also ask what happiness is to them and what they think can make them happier. They may talk about petty things but this will at least make them think in the direction.

Decide the resolutions as a team, don’t dictate: While it may tempt you to make resolutions and dictate them, do not do that. You can suggest and discuss some broad categories but let them make the resolutions. This will help them to be intrinsically motivated. If your kids are older, you can divide the goals into categories like personal, skills, friendship, etc., and then nudge them to think of aspects they can improve in those categories. Some of the goals they say may seem silly to you but do not say that to them. Saving for a new doll may mean nothing to you but a lot to your child. If you think they are getting too materialistic, introduce materialistic goals as a category and tell them to think about other categories as well.

Filter the list: Too many resolutions and not following through is a futile activity. It is important to have a short and achievable list that you all can focus on. Come up with a list of 3-4 resolutions and list down the smaller steps required to achieve the primary goal. Keep the list realistic. Try to include actionable goals and not vague and abstract ones. 

Break down the goals into very small steps: The journey of 1000 miles begins with a small step and many more small steps follow. Trying to do too much, in the beginning, will only be tiring and demotivating. For example, if the goal is to watch less TV and do more physical work, you cannot begin by cutting down 3 hours of screen time and replacing it with 3 hours of tennis practice. You could reduce by 15-20 mins in the first week and take a walk outside. Bring it down to 2 hours the next week and have some more fun outdoors. Remember to leave your phone away as well and join them during outdoor time.  Keep a habit tracker and celebrate little victories with your child. Appreciate them if they consistently achieve the little milestones. Remember, keep the rewards intangible; trying to bribe them with gifts or treats will kill their intrinsic motivation. If they do it only for the gift, there may be a day when the gift will no longer be attractive and they will quit the resolution.

Motivate but don’t nag: Don’t expect overnight changes. Let them complete the small steps at their pace. Motivate them, join them, but do not nag or make negative remarks. It is also normal to have lapses, help them get back on track with positive motivation. Make them excited about it, show them how far they have come, and keep modeling the right behavior.

Family new year resolution ideas for 2022

Here are some resolutions you can make together and work towards them as a family:

  • We will incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diet
  • We will help at least 2people per month
  • We will play family games at least once a week
  • We will go out for walks together or sign up for a sport
  • We will reduce screentime and spend more time together
  • We will eat together as a family at least 4-5 times per week
  • We will practice gratitude and count our privileges
  • We will create a family album or a scrapbook
  • We will hug more and express our love for each other
  • We will read more together
  • We will cook or bake together
  • We will buy less and craft more
  • We will try to be more kind
  • We will save more 

Remember, there is no guarantee that your plans will work. Life is dynamic and multiple factors will affect your goals. Do not get demotivated if you cannot fulfill what you visualized as the children will catch your energy. Model flexibility in such situations. Let your children know that it is important to adapt and recalibrate goals and expectations if there are factors beyond control. 

We wish that you have a great time bonding over family resolutions. Happy New Year!


Smriti is a freelance content writer and an avid reader. She quit her 6 year-long IT career to embrace her love for writing. She writes content across genres and takes pride in her ability to research and carve magic with words. She passionately writes about parenting and is currently working on her book. When not writing or reading, she can be seen running behind any of her 2 kids or learning Deutsch.

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