The new year is just around the corner, and it’s a time for new beginnings and new opportunities to become the best version of ourselves. Often, people create New Year’s Resolutions to reach a goal or lock down a good daily habit, like exercising, drinking water, or spending less time on social media. But resolutions don’t just have to be for adults, preschoolers and small children can learn and grow with them, too.
While the idea of New Year’s Resolutions may be a bit much for preschoolers, it’s never too early to begin teaching a child how to set a goal and work toward it or establish a beneficial routine. What’s important at this age is to not make it a pressure or unrealistic. Instead, you’ll want to make it fun and simple, and teach your child that even if they get off track, it’s okay to start over or start fresh. Our preschool in Raleigh is providing some tips on how to set New Years Resolutions for kids, particularly small children.
How to Explain New Year’s Resolutions to Preschoolers
For small children, a New Year’s Resolution may be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, simply frame it as setting a goal or make a commitment, and how the New Year is an exciting time to do it because it’s a clean slate. There’s certainly no pressure involved, but when you sit down with your child to set a resolution, first, ask them what they want to accomplish this year. Maybe it’s to try new foods, be involved with chores, or learn new skills, but no matter what it is, help them frame it as a “SMART” goal:
- Specific so that it provides clear direction and purpose (Example: I will try two bites of each item on my plate before I decide I don’t like it.)
- Measurable, or something that can be done daily or an amount of time per day or week (I will make my bed every morning.)
- Achievable so that it’s within your child’s ability to do or work toward (I will make my bed every morning with help starting out but learn how to do it myself.)
- Relevant so that it aligns with what your child wants to do. If they want to learn to read as their resolution, resolve to spend 30 minutes a day reading together.
Sticking with New Year’s Resolutions
Once you and your child set a New Year’s Resolution, you need a plan to stick with it. Adults often struggle to keep them, and once they miss a few days, they often leave it behind completely – it’s a bit defeatist, really, but it’s common. Fortunately, children are much more optimistic, making it easy to keep them focused as long as you keep a positive attitude. To avoid giving up on the Resolution, follow these tips:
For children age three to five, a small goal is fine. They don’t need to learn a new language or pick up a workout routine. Instead, help them focus on healthy, positive ideas that support skills they’re working on. Below, we have some ideas that you can provide and help them put into action.
Set a Time Each Day
If it’s a habitual activity, like making the bed each morning or reading together each day, set aside a time to do it and set a timer.
Get Back in the Saddle
As we mentioned above, adults often get off track, then give up. With children, you can use this as an opportuntity for a lesson. Yes, your child may have missed a few days, but it’s okay, they can always jump right back in. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Work on the Goal with Your Child
Instead of helping your child create a Resolution and then turn it over to them to do, you’ll want to work on it with them in order for them to stick with it. Modeling the behavior that is in the goal, doing the task with your child, or sitting with them while they do it will not only help them to be more successful, you’re making it a special time during the day. Also, if they see you doing the activity or working on the Resolution, like brushing your teeth or eating your vegetables, your child is more likely to do it too.
Don’t Focus on Willpower
Having a resolution that focuses on “not” having something can be a very negative feeling for children, and if they do the thing they’re not supposed to do, it can be very disheartening. Instead of a Resolution like “I won’t be a picky eater,” or “I won’t be messy,” focus on positive alternatives such as, “I will try new foods that are on my plate,” or “I will pick up my toys before bed.”
Set Monthly Goals and Rewards
Keep track with a chart or an app that makes it easy for you and your child to keep up with progress on their resolutions. If they do something every day for a week, a small reward is earned, and if they do it every day for a month, they earn a bigger reward (these don’t have to be monetary or a present, they can be whatever would be meaningful to your child like a trip to the park or a backyard camping night).
Types of New Year’s Resolutions for Preschoolers
Here are some age-appropriate, easy to follow resolutions that you could talk about with your preschooler:
- Brushing teeth twice a day
- Trying every food on my plate, even if it’s something new
- Picking up my toys at the end of the day or when they are done being used
- Spend time reading with Mom/Dad each day
- Be kind to people and animals, and specifically do one random act of kindness for a person each day
While these may not seem like the resolutions we are used to making as adults, these are great habits to get into and positive behaviors. The earlier that a child starts learning, the better chance those good habits will stick.
Schedule a Tour of Our Raleigh Preschool Today
At Primary Beginnings, we are dedicated to fostering healthy habits and positive behavior every day. To learn more about our programs, including our preschool and after-school programs, and schedule a tour with our Raleigh preschool, call us today at 919-790-6888 for our Spring Forest Road location and 919-785-0303 for our North Hills Drive Center.