New Year’s Eve is a great opportunity to spend time with your family. It’s a chance to reflect on the year as it comes to a close and focuses on what the months ahead might bring.
You may be wondering how to go about making New Year resolution for your kids.
Before you attempt to do this, it’s important to take a moment to make sure that your kids understand the meaning behind these traditions.
What are you celebrating at New Year, and why?
What are New Year’s resolutions, and why do you make them at this time of year?
These can be tricky concepts to explain, so here are a few tips to get you started:
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Why do we celebrate New Year?
Your children may wonder why you celebrate New Year and what’s so special about this particular day.
Explain that New Year’s Eve marks the end of the year we have just had and the beginning of the next. It can be helpful to use a calendar to demonstrate how the year changes on this day, and a clock to explain that the first day of January starts a second after midnight.
What is a New Year Resolution, and why do we make them?
It may be difficult for kids to understand what New Year’s resolutions are and why we make them.
- Describe how New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time to celebrate new beginnings and that people make resolutions as a way of setting out their goals for the year ahead.
- Give examples of the kinds of resolutions that people make, for example, to be tidier, learn a language, or be a better friend.
Setting resolutions together as a family can be a really positive experience and a great way to bond. So don’t let the opportunity pass you.
Why not have some fun this year and make some new year resolutions with your kids?
Here are some ideas to help you get started along with a fun-filled New Year’s Eve game:
How to make a New Year Resolution for Kids
Keep it positive
When you start to talk to your kids about setting resolutions, it’s important not to turn it into a lecture about all the things they do wrong and need to improve! Remember that New Year is a time of celebration and encouragement.
Lead by example
Make this a family activity and get involved.
Remember that kids learn best from what they see you do and not what they hear you say, so it’s essential to lead by example. As they watch you reflect on your own life and decide on areas you want to improve, they will soon follow suit and want to do the same.
Robin Goodman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and art therapist, asks, “Do you believe in, make, and keep resolutions?”. She explains how you have to be seen by your kids to “walk the walk and talk the talk to be most effective.”
So only make resolutions you intend to stick to. If you give up after a week, the chances are that your kids will do the same!
Celebrate achievements in the year just gone
Before focusing on the future, it’s important to recognize what your kids have achieved over the past year!
This will help them decide on their next set of goals.
So, talk about all that they have accomplished in the past year. Take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate these.
Don’t focus on the negatives. Instead, use this opportunity to praise them for the things they have done well.
Encourage them to think about what they can do now that they couldn’t do this time last year.
Look to the future
Next, take a moment to look ahead and ask them what great things they would like to achieve next year.
What skills would they like to improve? Is there anything they can do that will make their lives happier?
Allow them to decide on their New Year resolution
It may be tempting as parents to try to dictate what we think our kids’ new year resolutions should be. After all, we know what they need to improve on, right? But it’s far more beneficial to allow them to take ownership of this for themselves.
So, hard as it might be, resist the urge to dictate! Instead, guide and suggest some aspects of life they might want to think about improving.
Do they have any personal development goals? Are they kind to their friends, as helpful as they could be, or do they need to work on being patient? Is there something they could do better with at school? Is there a skill or sport they want to master?
Once you have given them some ideas, leave the ultimate decisions to them. In this way, they will take ownership of their goals and internalize their ambitions. They are then far more likely to work towards them than if you simply tell them what they have to achieve.
Be mindful not to dismiss any of their suggestions.
They may decide that they want to get better at building Lego, and you might not see this as a priority. But it’s important to respect what matters to them.
Ask them to choose their top New Year resolution
Your kids may have compiled a long list of resolution ideas by now.
But it’s crucial that they don’t become overwhelmed and end up not focusing on any of them. It’s far better that they choose a select few and learn how to follow through on achieving these.
Help your child to design a path to reaching their goals
Setting big goals can be overwhelming for all of us if we don’t know the steps we need to take to achieve them.
This applies to kids too, so help them work out what little things they can do to help them meet their ultimate goal. If your child wants to be tidier, they could start by hanging up their coat when they come in.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some more examples:
- I will improve my handwriting…. by writing neatly in my reading journal every day.
- I will eat more healthily… by only eating sweets at the weekend.
I’ve designed some New Year Resolution Cards which you can print out and use for each member of the family.
Each person should record up to three resolutions, and the first steps they will take towards achieving these goals. You can update these cards with further steps over time.
I’ve incorporated these resolution cards into a brilliant game called Countdown Bags which you can play together as a family on New Year’s Eve.
See details of this game below.
Following up on the progress
In the weeks following New Year, it’s important not to nag your kids about sticking to their resolutions.
All you will succeed in doing is causing resentment and turning the setting of resolutions into a negative experience.
Instead, place a gentle reminder somewhere. Perhaps put the family’s resolution cards on the fridge.
Once in a while, check-in to see how your family is getting on with their resolutions. Include your own efforts in this discussion.
Celebrate everyone’s achievements and any little wins. If someone is struggling, acknowledge that it can be hard to change, but see if you can work out what they can do to make their goals easier to achieve.
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How can we make a New Year resolution fun?
Try out this New Year’s Countdown Bag Game.
I first came across a version of this on Organize & Decorate Everything, but have adapted it a little to include an opportunity for the whole family to come together to set a New Year resolution. We haven’t played this before in our house but will definitely be doing so this year.
Take a look and see what you think:
New Year’s Eve Countdown Bag Game
The aim of the game is to give the kids an activity to do every hour throughout New Year’s Eve to keep them busy and entertained.
Each bag has a different time on the front. They get to open a new bag each hour and do the activity inside.
Step 1: First, you need to decide what time to start your game.
- We chose to go from 6 pm – 12 am as all our kids are quite happy to stay up late. But if yours might struggle, you could always play earlier in the evening. If you’re feeling sneaky, you could even change the clocks in your house to fool your kids into thinking it’s later than it is and so still get them to bed at a reasonable hour!
Step 2: Next, you need some bags.
- I bought multicolored paper sandwich bags, but any kind of non-transparent bag will do. You will need one bag for each hour that you want to play the game. Download and print these clock faces and then stick one onto the front of each bag for every hour that you want to play. Alternatively, you could make your own clock faces or draw them directly onto each bag.
Step 3: Fill the bags
- Now it’s time for the fun bit where you get to fill your bags with things to do each hour. This is what I’ve planned to go in ours:
6 pm: Fill the bag with multicolored pipe cleaners.
- Add a note challenging the kids to make the most elaborate pipe cleaner crown. Maybe add some beads too, which they can thread onto their pipe cleaners to make their designs more elaborate. Why not get the whole family to create one? You can then wear them through the rest of the evening’s festivities!
7 pm: Time to focus on those resolutions!
- Using the steps described above, talk about New Year’s resolutions with your kids. As a family, decide what your resolutions will be and then record them on these resolution cards. Stick them somewhere where you can all see them remind you of your goals in the coming weeks.
8 pm: Treasure hunt time!
- Print out these treasure hunt clues or make your own if you prefer. Put the first clue inside the bag, having hidden the rest around the house beforehand. Remember to hide a stash of treasure (perhaps sweets) for the kids to find at the end with the final ‘well done‘ message.
9 pm: Put some glow in the dark bracelets and spinning tops in this bag.
- Pop on the bracelets and have a top spinning competition to see who can get their top to spin the longest. If you want a real challenge, see who can spin the most tops at the same time!
10 pm: Time for some music.
- Put instructions in this bag to tell the kids to put on some music and play musical bumps and musical statues at 10 pm. Obviously, you’ll need more goodies for prizes!
If you don’t fancy playing games, you could just crank up the music and have a dance! Turn the lights down low too to make the most of their glow-in-the-dark bracelets!
11 pm: How about a game of Would You Rather?
- Print off a copy of these funny Would Your Rather questions. I’ve included some blank ones too so you can add your own questions if you would like to. Cut them out and add them to the bag. To play, each person takes a turn to pull out a question, and then the whole family gives their answer. This really can be a lot of fun!
12 pm: It’s midnight!
- Time to celebrate, so fill this bag with some noisy blowers to help welcome in the New Year. Turn on the TV to watch the fireworks. Add to the noise with your blowers or anything else that you can find to make a racket!
To make life easier, I’ve made some instruction cards which you can put in your 6 pm, 7 pm, 9 pm, and 10 pm bags, just to make sure that your kids know exactly what they need to do. You can download these here.
Don't forget to get your free New Years printables. Click here
Hope you all have a wonderful and happy New Year. I’d love to know if you played Countdown Bags too and if so, how you enjoyed it? What did you decide to put in your bags?
Have your family committed to any New Year resolutions this year?
If so, I hope you found the tips in this post useful. Please share how you went about making New Year resolutions for your kids in the comments below.
Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all enjoyed Nadine’s New Year Resolution for Kids. We will definitely try her awesome New Years’ Eve Countdown Bag Game!
Here a small tip from me: Netflix has every year a New Year Eve countdown you can play for your children anytime, in case they are not able to stay up till midnight yet.
Stay safe Lil Tigers
About the Author
This guest post was written by Nadine Williamson, the blogger behind As They Grow.
Nadine lives in West Sussex, UK. She has 3 kids, is a qualified primary school teacher, and has owned a childcare business for many years.
In her blog, she provides advice and practical tips for parents through the many stages of parenthood.