Helping Our Kids Make Meaningful Resolutions

By Jessica Wolstenholm

On New Year’s Eve, we sit down with our kids to discuss what positive changes we’d like to work towards as a family in the coming year. The first thing we do is take into account their personal accomplishments of the previous year.

This isn’t the time to point out shortcomings, but rather successes! Point out the positive changes that your kids have made over the last few months, because this will give you something to build upon.

As our kids hit certain developmental milestones, it’s important to celebrate them. Remind them that last year at this time, they weren’t able to… read a whole story by themselves, play a song on the piano, or even use the potty! It was probably due to a lot of effort on their part that they reached these milestones.

Ask each child, “What great things do you want to accomplish this year?” Keep in mind that most kids are going to need your help at this point. Perhaps coming up with categories for them, and making separate lists might be helpful. Something like: School Goals, Friendship Goals, Personal Goals. If they’re still stuck, you can help them with some ideas, like: Being nicer to my brother/sister; Helping around the house; Making a new friend at school or at church; Saying my prayers at night without being reminded; Eating my vegetables without complaining; Keeping my bedroom clean.

Most childhood specialists will advise to keep these resolutions realistic, concrete, and doable. The other thing to remember is that it’s important not to make their lists so big, that they won’t see these resolutions through. Helping our children see that they can achieve success is so important.

Of course WE are the best example to our kids about perseverance. Do they see us following through with our own resolutions or personal goals? For me, this bit of accountability helps me stay on target!

One suggestion would be to incorporate a Biblical character trait for the whole family to work towards. Perhaps kindness is a trait you’d like to work on as a family. Gather together Bible verses and stories that help children see examples of how kindness towards others is a true blessing and can be an action that directly shares the love of Jesus with someone else.

During this time of resolution, we need to remind ourselves, as well as our kids, that while change can be difficult, it is something that God will help us through. I have this verse written down in our kitchen (Philippians 4:13), the one room I KNOW everyone will see it!

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Happy New Year. May God bless each of you in this new year, and may you be renewed through Him.

Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.