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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Easy self-esteem builder: Make resolutions with kids



clock.jpgOur colleague Irene Maher has some great tips in her article here on how to help your kids set some New Year's resolutions. As she notes, "the new year provides a good opportunity for kids to take a personal assessment — how things are going for them at home, at school, with their friends, their physical fitness — and see if they'd like to make improvements." The benefit of resolution-making for children is that it builds self confidence and self esteem. It gives them a sense of accomplishment. In the end, it helps make them thoughtful, productive citizens. That means it helps keep them out of trouble later in life.

Where should you start?

What we're really talking about is setting goals. Identifying things for the child to accomplish during the coming year. It must be something the child can achieve. Then you, the adult, must be willing to commit to helping the child reach their goal. Without your support even the best plan isn't likely to work.

Here's how

  • To initiate the conversation, ask the child, what would you do differently this year? It's important to have their input, their buy-in. Also, make sure it's something that will improve their physical or emotional well being or their self esteem.
  • Write down your goals, individually or as a family. Parents can help children figure out how to achieve their goals by dividing them into more manageable segments.
  • When a child reaches a goal, mark the occasion and talk about how they achieved it.

Break it down

Break it down into simple, attainable steps. If an elementary school-aged child wants to read two books a month, set a day and time to discuss the books together. Sit down, make eye contact, no texting, no TV, no distractions or interruptions. The key is to spend time together and have a meaningful discussion. You will have to read the book, too. If fitness or weight is an issue, set achievable goals every day such as 20 minutes of vigorous play or eating fruit and veggies with every meal.

Make sure it's an attainable goal that fits within your means financially, your schedule and lifestyle. Follow through with your part in the activity and re-evaluate goals that seem too difficult. Figure out what changes you both can make so they are attainable.

--Irene Maher can be reached at

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[Last modified: Thursday, December 29, 2011 5:24pm]


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