The year 2013 is almost here! I love this time of year when everyone gets to regroup after a busy holiday, reflect on events of the past year, and look ahead to the clean slate that a new year brings. You get a fresh start and another chance to be “your best self”–think of it as the gift you give yourself!
A few years back I was joking with my husband about how I wanted to write his resolutions for him–at the top of that list would be to use his turn signal regularly and become a better driver in general! He, in turn, wanted to write mine: close the cabinets and finish a project before I start the next one. (My reply to him was to ask if “stop being so wonderful 100% of the time” might be a more accurate resolution for me–surprisingly, he didn’t think so?!)
When my husband and I had the above conversation, our kids were within earshot and began asking about resolutions. So as we explained that they were things you wanted to work on throughout the coming year to make yourself a better person, they started brainstorming about what they needed to work on themselves. And “Kids’ Resolutions” were born in our house!
On New Year’s Day each year, our girls now write out their own resolutions. Oftentimes they are more like “goals”–such as learning to read. We then hang their lists up in our kitchen, and they stay there all year long. Throughout the year, they love to read through their resolutions to see how they’re doing. If they feel like they are doing something well (and we agree), they give themselves a check mark, and that goal has been attained. At the end of the year, anything that doesn’t have a check mark is put back on the list the following year.
I hang on to their resolutions and tuck them away with their other keepsakes. Some of the lists are hilarious, and they all certainly sum up that daughter and that particular stage in her life. And for a parent, making kids’ resolutions has been a great thing. It can be July and if one of the kids is struggling with something, we can say, “This is one of your resolutions! You made a pact with yourself to work on doing better with this…” and it usually helps her come back to reality and collect herself. The girls often remind one another of their resolutions and encourage each other as well.
This year, maybe this is something you want to try with your own children. It shows them that resolutions aren’t just for adults–it helps them realize that they, too, get a fresh start each year (and each day) to do better and to accomplish new things. I think this simple tradition is a great way to teach kids two important life lessons: 1) If you start down one path in life, there is always a chance to take a detour and start anew; and 2) You are never done growing as a person. Even grown-ups are always working on being the best they can be.
Life is short. Be your best self, and enjoy!
Happy New Year everybody!
Below you can see one daughter’s resolutions from the past three years. Her sisters helped her with them because she was still too young to write them out.
Yes, it says, “No pooping in diaper.” I laughed so hard when they came to me with that finished list. I suppose a 2-year-old doesn’t have a lot to work on quite yet! For the record, she did attain that goal, and I wasn’t changing any more diapers by the time 2011 rolled around! Woohoo!
Note that my daughter’s list didn’t change much between ages 3 and 4. I remember when it was time to write out her resolutions last year, we were going down the previous year’s list of resolutions. As we read through them, it was like, “Nope. Nope. Nope!” and onto the 2012 list most of those things went!! She made good progress this year, though, as a five-year-old!
You can see that our girls’ lists have been handled and referenced many times this past year, and now it’s time to take them down. I can’t wait to see what they want to work on in 2013!
What new year’s traditions does your family have?
Wishing you all the best in the coming year!!