January feels like the month of rejuvenation and optimism. We all try to make positive changes to our lives and daily habits and there is a sense of a fresh start that fuels ours goals. Involving my kids in this ritual has proven to be quite fruitful for the past two years as they feel excited about achieving certain goals and reaping the benefits. This tradition helps them learn self-discipline and positively challenges their determination. Most importantly, this habit teaches responsibility and following through on their commitments, which are invaluable tools that will shape their future. During the first week of January, sit down as a family and set both individual and family goals and changes. Talk about the year that passed and what changes each person would like to make, what new things they want to explore.
Here are some examples of different resolutions for different ages:
- Learn a new language: “I will learn a new exciting language” or “I will focus on developing the second language I’m learning”. The benefits of learning a second language for any child are boundless. The door to making new friends and forming relationships with others becomes wider. The logistical and employment opportunities become broader. Furthermore, the emotional development is increased and compassionate connections are heightened. My kids chose to learn the Arabic language. Learning Arabic has never been easier today with all the online applications available to eager learners of all ages. We use “I Read Arabic” app, an award winning program with vast resources that helps young readers advance their Arabic reading skills through reading activities at their own pace. It offers a gamified and reward-based experience that my children truly enjoy.
- Read one book per month: “I will read at least one book per month” or “I will finish one book from my library”. Instilling the early habit of reading in your children will nurture a positive association while building on the love of learning. Reading is an invaluable skill which broadens the child’s vocabulary while working on sentence structure and grammar. An easy way to help your children achieve this goal is by making reading a part of their bedtime routine and let them see you reading often to encourage them to read themselves.
- Find an active hobby: “I will pick a sport or activity and practice it at least twice a week”. Aside from the physical benefits of hobbies, the mental benefits work wonders on the development of a child’s brain. Furthermore, especially nowadays, hobbies tend to ground children and help with the levels of stress they have been experiencing; giving them time to mentally reflect and assess. Instill healthy habits at an early age by encouraging your child to stay active
- Eat healthier food & explore new tastes: “I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day” or “I will try all the food on my plate, even if it’s just one bite”. Encourage healthy eating by offering nutritious choices at all times, and rewarding them with a treat every now and then. Remove all the junk food from your pantry and replace with healthy snacks. Help your kids try different types of food by exploring different cuisines and trying them out for yourself with them. Make the habit of eating at least one vegetable and one fruit a day part of their resolution. Include them in meal planning and food shopping to make them excited about the wholesome food they are going to consume.
- Be kind to others: Encourage your kids to exercise kindness towards others at all times. Remind them of the importance of treating their siblings and friends and classmates with compassion and lending a helping hand when needed. As a family you can decide that everyone needs to do one act of kindness each day. Being thoughtful of other people’s feelings can have such a positive impact on our lives.
You can try putting these resolutions on a board or chart that your child creates in a fun way and place is somewhere visible so they can be reminded of their intentions every day. And remember, even if your child doesn’t reach the goal, setting it and working towards it is still a meaningful experience.