Winter is a time of rest, refocus, and setting new goals for a new year and a new you. Goal setting is a lifelong skill that is beneficial to personal growth and overall being a better human. Having resolutions is a practice many adults do, but is something we should include those kids around us in.
Resolution setting is something our family has done for years. We really enjoy having our traditional New Year’s Day food: ham, black-eyed peas (for health) and collard greens (for good fortune). As we enjoy our New Year’s Day lunch we like to reflect on the highs and lows of the past year. From school to work to physical health to our own mental states. We get really honest with each other and set intentions for the year. Our family likes to do a “Top 10 for the year” list format. We list our hopes and dreams for the year then share our lists the following day. It’s become a fun way to make sure that our daily habits support the goals and hopes we have for the year and make sure we can hold each other accountable.
My hope is that you can reflect with any children in your family and create a fun tradition for your family that sets an intention for a successful 2023.
Here are some themes that I’ve seen as an educator and parent that could help drive the conversation with the children in your life to creating 2023 resolutions. Make sure you have the discussion of creating attainable goals and that you revisit the goals throughout their year.
For students, school is really one of the places where they spend the majority of their day. Goals could look many different ways depending on your child. They may want a grade-based goal where they can measure their success in a numerical value. (We have one daughter that has a goal to get better in her spelling so one of her goals was to score at least a 7 out of 10 on her weekly spelling test. As she improved, she made her goal 8 out of 10 and then respectfully 9 out of 10.) You may have a student who struggles just getting up in the morning to make it to school on time. Focus on a small obtainable goal like being in the car or ready for the bus on time for a week. There may be a new skill you’d like to learn as a family from sewing to scuba diving, so decide to find somewhere local and learn for learning's sake. Whichever goal you pick, make it a family conversation to see where you fit in and can help support your child.
As they get older, many students form and maintain friendships. Possible goals around friendship could be make an effort to start a new friendship, spend time with a friend outside of school, or meet 3 new people. Many students struggle to form and maintain friendships at recess. Having a child struggle in this area can be hard, but as a family you can support them. Make sure they are given opportunities to meet up with friends outside of school and ask them who they spend time with at lunch and recess times.
Many students, especially those in 3-10th grades, struggle in this area. Organization is something that is expected of our children, but never explicitly taught at school or in some homes. Making sure your child stays organized should begin with one small step, decluttering. When there is less to sort through, there is less to have to keep up with. Once you have helped your child organize, coming up with a system that works well for their personality type is key. Many students do well with paper organizers, and some do better with digital reminders. Children also need help organizing their personal items, toys, and electronics. This is such a great goal for a child because it can really become a whole family effort.
In recent years, mental health has become a top concern for many of us who work with children daily. You may have experienced these struggles yourself or as a family member to someone experiencing them. First, when setting a goal for improving mental health it is really important the child brings it up and is a discussion you have together. When my daughters were younger we focused on making sure to reflect on things we are thankful for and notice how we feel after doing this a week or two. My oldest kept a gratitude journal and wrote down her top 5 things she was thankful for daily and it helped her from focusing on those around her to the positive things she has going on in her life. For your student, this could be a gratitude journal, spending time outside and with friends, getting enough sleep or eating foods that make them feel better. Just like the other items I have mentioned, this could become a whole family 2023 resolution together.
An exercise goal can be as simple as going for a walk before or after school. Making sure to get outside in the fresh air for 30 minutes of your day with friends or family can dramatically increase mental and physical health. Maybe your child is already involved in a sport and they have specific goals for their sport like improving their times in an event for track, moving up a level on their swim team, or learning a new dance move they’ve been practicing. Whatever their goal is, making it something they can work towards with consistent practice can help them stay motivated and have a short-term goal in mind. Trying a new sport or activity for exercise is also a wonderful goal. About 10 years ago my first daughter was born and I wanted a water sport that I could do with a group. From that goal came a paddle board group I became a part of and now my whole family joins me on paddles and it’s become a whole family activity and a way I can connect with nature, clear my mind, exercise and connect with friends.
Whatever your goals may be this year, I encourage you to come up with some as a family and spend time talking with one another about your hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. Make sure to keep those conversations going to help support your resolutions as well as support your loved ones as they reach for their dreams.
Jessica Stallings MA Ed. is a veteran teacher and tech writer. She is a National Board Certified Educator who values teaching the whole child and enjoys working with learners of all ages. Her favorite thing as an educator is to watch how technology motivates all different types of learners of varying ability levels. She hopes to empower learners and families to use technology to help connect them to and learn more about the beautiful world we live in. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she loves to spend time on the North Carolina Coast with her family and dog, Fletcher.