Parents may make resolutions to save more money, stop smoking or lose weight in the New Year, but what commitments can children make to improve themselves, too? Turns out, there are plenty of age-appropriate targets kids can set to build skills and habits that’ll serve them well into adulthood. Here are some suggestions for healthy New Year’s resolutions for kids, from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- I’ll pick up my toys and put stuff away where it belongs.
- I’ll brush my teeth twice every day.
- I won’t tease dogs – even friendly pets. I’ll keep my fingers and face away from their mouths to avoid being bitten.
Big kids and tweens (ages 5-12)
- I’ll drink milk and water and limit soda and fruit drinks.
- I’ll put on sunscreen, stay in the shade when I can and wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses – especially playing sports.
- I’ll try to find a team or individual sport that gets me moving (like soccer or karate) or activity (playing tag, dancing, riding my bike) I like and do it at least three times a week.
- I’ll wear a helmet when I’m on my bike, scooter or skateboard.
- I’ll wear my seatbelt every time I’m in a car – or, until I’m tall enough to use a lap/shoulder belt, I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat.
- I’ll be nice to other kids and friendly to kids who are shy, different or new at school.
- I’ll never give out personal information online, like my name, home address, school name or phone number – and never send a picture of myself to anyone I chat with on the computer without my mom or dad’s permission.
- I’ll eat at least two servings each of fruit and veggies daily – and limit my pop intake to special occasions.
- I’ll take care of my body with physical activity and nutrition.
- I’ll watch non-violent TV shows and video games and spend only one to two hours each day, tops, on them.
- I’ll help my neighborhood by volunteering, helping community groups or by joining an organization that aids others in need.
- I’ll stop negative self-talk (“I can’t do it,” “I’m so dumb”).
- When I feel mad or stressed, I’ll take a break and choose positive, constructive ways to deal, like exercising, reading, journaling or talking through problems with a friend or parent.
- When I have a tough decision, I’ll talk with an adult about my choices.
- I’ll be careful whom I choose to date. I’ll treat him or her with respect and without coercion or violence – and expect the same.
- I’ll resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.
- When I see friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I’ll talk with a trusted adult and try to find a way to help.
What resolutions have your kids tried? Did they work for them?
This post was originally published in 2012 and is updated regularly.