Kids Can Have Resolutions, Too

by ih-chi admin

We (grown ups) often put a lot of careful thought into our personal New Year’s resolutions. (Actually sticking to them is another story!) Then, why not also set some family goals, or resolutions, for the year and involve your children in the discussion.

Many kids, especially those with special needs who crave structure, enjoy working toward something specific with a reward at the end of the journey. Here are some simple guidelines to help your child in setting goals for 2017, and all you have to remember is to keep them S-M-A-R-T:

  • Specific. Have them express something very specific they would like to accomplish in the new year…whether it be learning a new sport or hobby, earning a higher grade in a certain class, or getting along better with siblings or friends.
  • Measurable. Help your child track their progress on a chart/calendar or via some sort of frequent verbal check-in with you about what steps they have taken to reach their goal. Most kids love charts with bright stickers or markers as a daily visual to keep them on track. 
  • Attainable. Make sure your child’s goal is something that you know they can achieve on their own or with some guidance from you…something that’s not too easy and not overwhelming.
  • Results-oriented. Encourage them to pick a goal that will allow them to see gradual rewards along the way. For example, practicing or studying something for a few extra minutes each day should show them a steady improvement in speed or a school grade over time. 
  • Timely. Schedule an end-date, whether that is six weeks from now, or six months, or at the end of the year. Setting “mini-goals” in between now and then will also help keep them motivated.

Positive reinforcement from a parent can be one of the biggest factors in helping your kiddo reach the finish line. Be their loudest cheerleader and most trusted confidante. Tell them you are working alongside them with your own New Year’s resolutions, and share with them an experience you maybe had as a child in working towards something that you really wanted. (Let them know that it’s okay too to have an off-day where they get sidetracked—we all have them!)

Good luck and Happy 2017!

(Adapted from