Have you and your kids come up with your New Year’s Resolutions yet? The best way to create resolutions with kids is to keep it simple and focused on their experiences. Health, media, friends, family, school, activities are all areas that kids know well and can embrace without too much of a stretch – so start there!
For the main areas of child health, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a fantastic list for all ages (reprinted with permission):
- I will clean up my toys.
- I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
- I won’t tease dogs – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
Kids, 5- to 12-years-old
- I will drink milk and water, and limit soda and fruit drinks.
- I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
- I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
- I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
- I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
- I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
- I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.
Kids, 13-years-old and up
- I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink.
- I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
- I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
- I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
- I will wipe negative “self talk” (i.e. “I can’t do it” or “I’m so dumb”) out of my vocabulary.
- When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
- When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk with an adult about my choices.
- I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence.
- I will resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.
- When I notice my friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
For me, media life is a huge concern with so many kids overly plugged in. Here’s some media-related resolutionsto help keep everyone with just the right amount of plugged and unplugged time. After all, the real world still exists off line!
Dr. Gwenn’s Media-Friendly Family Resolutions:
- I will never choose media or technology over my family.
- I will use technology responsibly by not
- Texting or talking while driving
- Walking while texting or having earphones in
- using my cell phone in line for anything
- using technology to harm others by engaging in bullying or slanderous actions
- I will try and keep my total entertainment screen time to 2 hours a day except when doing a project for school.
- I will not watch shows or play games that scare me or are inappropriate for friends and family watching or playing with me.
- Kids: I will never give out personal information online or by text and will avoid all chat room except ones my mom and dad have looked at and approved. I understand my parents will check my media histories and digital technologies on occasion to make sure I’m being safe.
- Parents: I will check what my kids are doing online and on their phones.
- We will talk as a family at a meal a day with no technology in sight!
- We will agree to technology free times such as weekends and vacations.
Here’s to a healthy, Safe and fulfilling 2013!