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New Year’s Goal Setting Tips for Young Kids and Families

Another new year is here (already!) and for most people, it’s a great time to get a fresh start. January can symbolize a new chance to get off on the right foot and set the tone for the rest of the year. Setting goals together as a family can be a good opportunity to bond and connect.

And don’t worry, even the little ones can participate in the goal-setting and discussion process. While their resolutions list won’t be nearly as detailed, they likely have some things they’ve been wanting to accomplish as much as you.

Why Should Children Set Goals?

From preschoolers to teens, setting goals is a valuable habit to establish growing up. It gives kids a chance to engage in self-reflection – taking into consideration their interests, passions, and challenges.

Creating goals is the perfect learning opportunity to work toward something and feel the joy of accomplishment. Your child can benefit from the increased self-confidence and self-awareness developed through achieving those goals.

As the parent or main caregiver, you have the chance to guide your kiddo through this process and even do it together.

New Year’s Resolutions for Preschool Kids

Even with as young as preschoolers are, they still comprehend much more than we know. Wherever your kids are developmentally, have a talk about goals and resolutions on a level they will understand. You know your kiddo best.

Talk About What They’ve Accomplished

If you’re stuck wondering where to begin, start by looking at what goals have already been accomplished. For example, have they learned to brush their teeth? Have they learned how to swim independently? There are so many things they’ve accomplished already in their short lives that can be a great conversation starter.

Break down the steps they had to take to learn a skill. If we’re using the learning to swim example, you could talk about how they had to learn to float on their backs, hold their breath, and make big arm circles in the water.

Make New Goals Realistic

Let’s be honest, cleaning the toy room spotless every day is probably not a realistic goal for a 4 year-old. Here are some examples of age-appropriate focuses for the year:

  • I will put my toys away after playing with them (mom or dad will help remind me!)

  • I will try one bite of any new food. It’s okay if I don’t like it.

  • I will learn how to write my name.

  • I will memorize my address and phone number

  • I will work on a skill that’s hard for me

  • I will hold a grown up’s hand when crossing the street

  • I will say affirmations every day before school

It can really be that simple. While we may try to make more strict or specific goals as adults, our preschoolers aren’t developmentally ready to do that kind of goal setting. As the adult, your guidance and reminders can help them be successful.

Create a Fun Way to Track Progress

Who doesn’t love a colorful sticker or magnet chart? Let your child pick out their own chart or calendar to help them visualize their progress. Each time they work on their resolution, they can place a sticker on the chart. If you’re up for it (but it’s not necessary), add in small rewards to reinforce their efforts. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but can serve as a little motivational tool.

It will be fun at the end of the year to look at all the hard work they’ve put in.

Make Goals Together

As you help your little one decide what resolutions they want to work on for the new year, you can also share with them some of your own goals. For example, if you made a goal to go on a walk five times per week, they might want to join you.

It can be a wonderful chance to bond and support your child as they attempt things that might be new or challenging!

Have an Incredible 2023!

We hope you have a beautiful year with successful goals. Remember – nobody is perfect, so cut yourself some slack if you need to refocus. Just take one step at a time. Happy New Year!


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