Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Resolutions for Children and Families

Our colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics, through their parenting website,, have come up with a list of New Year's resolutions for children of different ages, all designed to help foster good habits and good health.

Marco Verch via Flickr
The lists are extensive, but a few examples for children ages 5-12 include using sunscreen, wearing a helmet for biking and similar activities, and not sharing any personal information -- or sending a photo -- on the internet. Resolutions for older children include avoiding peer pressure to try tobacco -cigarettes or e-cigarettes - drugs, or alcohol, avoiding distracted driving, and dating respectfully. Many of the suggestions have embedded links to extensive information elsewhere on the AAP site.

Other good ideas for starting the new year on a positive note come from Parenting magazine, which suggests resolutions for the entire family to make together. These include a weekly ritual - playing a game, having a movie night, volunteering as a family, exercising together - maybe a walk or a bike ride, and eating healthier, which can include having the entire family plan and prepare meals together.

Experts tend to agree that most people who make New Year's resolutions have trouble keeping them. But some steps may make it more likely to be successful with changes in behavior. Picking just one resolution at a time, instead of a long, aspirational list, can increase chances for success. So can making small changes; a family that never eats dinner together because of busy schedules may find it impossible to stick to a resolution to eat every dinner together around the table. But starting with a commitment to one or two nights of "family dinner time" each week can be a reasonable goal, one that even busy households may be able to reach. And research has shown that there are real, tangible, impacts on children's health and behaviors as a result of regular family meals.

Photo credit: USDA via Flickr

No comments:

Post a Comment