What are some easy, realistic New Year’s resolutions parents can have their kids make for 2016?
Any resolutions should be created by the parent and child together, not imposed on the child by Mom or Dad, says Wendi Fischer, a psychologist in private practice in West Islip.
Ask the child, “Is there anything you would like to do differently?” If they can’t come up with anything, ask, “What is something you wish I wouldn’t nag you about?”
Make resolutions specific — instead of saying, “Keep your room clean,” make the resolution, “From now on we don’t see your sneakers out in the hall.”
“Take what you think the child can do, and make it a little less,” Fischer advises. If he talks about practicing the violin for 30 minutes a day, make it 15, or 30 minutes three times a week. “That gives the child a chance for success,” she says. He can always surpass the goal, but you want him to meet it. Consider a reward if he or she keeps the resolution through January to establish the habit, she says.
To get started, Valley Stream therapist Don Sinkfield, who has two kids, ages 5 and 8, suggested these possibilities:
n Consider morning routines. Resolve to organize something that causes morning stress.
n Talk about possible healthy habits. Resolve, for instance, to drink a glass of water every day before afternoon snack.
n Improve the homework routine. “The New Year is definitely a good time to start the idea of doing homework first after school,” Sinkfield says.
Don’t forget to ask the child what he or she wishes the parents would resolve to do as well, Fischer says. Make New Year’s resolutions a win-win situation for the whole family.