Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids
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The new year is a time for fresh starts and resolutions—many of them focusing on healthier, more active lifestyles. Those of us who find it easiest to stick with our resolutions are usually those with the most practice working towards goals and establishing new, positive habits. This makes New Year’s resolutions for kids so important—by helping children attain healthy goals now, you encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles as they grow into adults.
New Year’s resolutions for kids should be age-appropriate and attainable. Simple resolutions are better than complicated plans, as they are easier to track and accomplish.
Resolutions for Preschoolers
New Year’s resolutions are a new idea for younger children. You’ll have to explain what a resolution is and why we make them. Keep preschool resolutions very simple, and in line with healthy or hygienic skills you’re teaching the child anyway. For instance, possible goals for children under five might include:
- Brushing teeth twice a day
- Letting parents know when they need to use the washroom
- Washing hands after using the bathroom
- Washing up before meals.
Health Habits for Kids Aged Five to Twelve
Older children with a better understanding of resolutions should be encouraged to make their own healthy resolutions—with your input and guidance. If the child has difficulty deciding on a healthy goal, suggest one of these ideas:
- Drinking milk and water instead of soda and fruit juice
- Eating fruit and vegetables as an afternoon snack
- Joining a sport or activity that encourages moving and exercise
- Spending an hour outside for every hour of computer, video games, or television
- Trying one new food a month and eating the serving whether or not they like it
- Using sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses when playing in the sun.
New Year’s Resolutions for Kids Twelve and Over
After age twelve, New Year’s resolutions can get tricky. A child’s say in setting resolutions should be increased, but at the same time peer pressure and puberty can make kids rebel against the whole idea. One option is to make the healthy resolution apply to all family members equally, so everyone is expected to shoot for the same goal.
Remember as well a healthy lifestyle is mental as well as physical. Resolutions encouraging a healthy emotional or spiritual state are just as important at this age as those promoting exercise.
Possible resolutions for the tween to teen crowd include:
- Eating at least two servings of fruit and veggies daily
- Learning more about physical activity, nutrition and self-care (and practicing what you learn).
- Learning to cook one new healthy meal a month
- Limiting pop consumption to special occasions
- Making Sunday a family fun day
- Resist peer pressure for risky behavior, including drug and alcohol use
- Riding bikes to school at least once a week
- Telling an adult when they feel sad or upset, instead of bottling up negative emotions
- Volunteering once a month.
The earlier you start New Year’s resolutions for kids, the more likely they’ll continue setting and attaining healthy goals as they grow up.