Happy New Year! Hope the year has began on a good note for you.
Seeing as today is the beginning of 2015, many of us will be making New Year resolutions –just like we do every other year. But while some people do actually manage to stick to their goals for the year, a majority of us perform poorly on that score. Actually by February, we are struggling to keep up and by April, we prefer to have selective amnesia on what the resolutions were .
So how about doing it differently this year? How about making resolutions as a family this year? How about doing it together with your kids? How about sitting together as a family and looking back at 2014, analyzing what worked well and what didn’t, then coming up with suggestions on how to make 2015 a better year for all of you –individually and as a family?
The truth is that it is not only adults who need to make resolutions. Children too need to improve on various areas of their lives, and making New Year’s resolutions is one step to doing so. And with the continued guidance of their parents and siblings, they can be able to achieve their goals for the year.
So during a family lunch or dinner this week (before schools open), why not ask each family member to share something about their life that they would like to see different in the coming year, how they will go about achieving this goal and what listing down any kind of support they will need?
Of course, there are different resolutions for different ages. Younger children can for example commit to helping clear the dishes after meals, while slightly older ones can commit to ensuring they spread their beds in the morning and ensure they keep their bedroom tidy all day long and all year long. Older children can commit to waking up early (and not running after the school or college bus because they overslept), as well as eating healthy and buying less junk food with their pocket money.
The parents too can spell out their resolutions, which aside from the obvious weight watch and exercise, they can purpose to be arriving home early on weekdays to help their children with their homework. As a parent, you can also purpose to be praying together with your family each day before the kids retire to bed, or you can purpose to be accompanying your children to church on a more regular basis. Then as a family, you can decide to be visiting a children’s home once every two months, as well as donating to the children old clothes, shoes and toys no longer in use.
You can then compile these resolutions and hang them somewhere public, such as on the kitchen wall, where everybody in the family can keep making easy reference. As the year progresses, be sure as a parent to check on your children’s progress and acknowledge their positive efforts. Be sure to commend and congratulate them if they are making progress on their resolutions. We all know what positive acknowledgement can do to someone; and doing so to your children will not only thrill them, but will motivate them to continue doing better.
And as the months go by, sit down together as a family from time to time and evaluate how far you are in your individual and family goals. What is working and what is not? Any family member who needs extra help?
By the way resolutions are not cast in stone, so some flexibility can be allowed. And be sure not to punish or berate a child because he is not succeeding in his goals. Be more understanding, especially if the child is making the effort.
And of course, don’t forget to be a role model. What moral authority will you have to question why your child is not sticking to her resolution, yet you yourself are not? Remember children model their parent’s behaviour and they are always watching you. So practice what you preach.
Have a blessed 2015 and I hope you will continue keeping me company here as we all navigate this parenting journey.
NB: I originally published this article in The Star.