Are you encouraging your kids to have New Year’s Resolutions?

These days we’re all about New Year’s Resolutions. Even Facebook is keeping on asking us about them. It’s nice, because this is the time of the year when we think we can change ourselves and our habits, and become happier and healthier people. But how about kids? Should you encourage them to have New Year’s resolutions as well?

Resolutions can be good or bad for kids. I remember that some of my resolutions as a kid were not good for me. I was a rebellious kid, and I often felt really guilty about it. My resolutions was that I would be a good kid, otherwise I’d go to hell. (Don’t underestimate sense of guilt in kids). Of course, that was such a generic resolution that I never managed to accomplish it. Eventually, I just stopped thinking about it – lucky me!

Lesson learned #1: do not try to encourage your kids to have resolutions that are too big for them. Help them be specific instead.

My parents – God bless them – didn’t take my resolutions seriously and this was very good for me. Actually, they considered my resolutions like something they didn’t even need to know, like something personal.

Lesson learned #2: do not use your kids’ resolutions as a weapon against them. You will make them feel unsafe, and maybe push them to lower their expectations in order not to disappoint you.

I read a great article by KJ Dell’Antonia about family resolutions. It made me think that, even if resolutions should be personal, it’s ok to have a couple of shared resolutions with your family of with your friends. After all, our happiness is all about relationships, and if we have common resolutions to make relationships work better, I don’t think that can harm. Plus, it can make it a bit easier to stick to them.

Lesson learned #3: encourage your kids to have some shared resolutions along with personal (and even secret) resolutions. It may mean shared with you, but also with their friends. Actually, it’s a great idea also for a classroom.

You could also make everything simpler and think with your kids about the words of the year. That’s what Cathy of Nurture Store did with her kids.

[If you want to combine nice resolutions for kids and syntax, don’t miss “Unscramble 2013!” on Timbuktu: an awesome free syntax game for second and third graders.]