Each year we make resolutions, or firm decisions, to improve or change our behavior. Often the determination to keep resolutions fade as time passes. This happens when the resolution is too broad, unrealistic, or too hard. However, by choosing resolutions that are attainable and measurable, the success rate rises.

When children make resolutions like watching less television, focusing more on school, spending less time playing video games, eating more vegetables, or exercising more, parents can help kids keep their resolutions.

Parents can discuss the resolutions with children to gain an understanding of why the child is making the resolution. Once the reason for the resolution is established, help your child to set measurable goals. As kids mark their success, they can see the achievement and feel proud of themselves.

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. —Proverbs 20:11

Parents begin to build character in their kids by helping children to keep their resolution. Character is defined as moral excellence, firmness, and ethical strength. The Word says “endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.“  —Romans 5:4-5 

Using a defined, measurable goal will help kids when the temptation to quit overwhelms them. Measurable goals keep your kids on track with their resolutions, and helps build character and determination in your child.

Building character in your children involves teaching them the six pillars of character outlined in Making Ethical Decisions by Michael Josephson. The six pillars are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.  By helping kids keep their resolutions, parents establish the first pillar of character, trustworthiness, and the third pillar, responsibility.

Follow these simple steps to build character and help you kids keep their resolutions

  • Help your child decide on resolutions that are age appropriate and attainable. Talk about school, free time, and discuss what your child wants to change or achieve. Help your child decide what is realistic for his age and lifestyle. Set end goals and intermediate goals to enable your kids to chart their progress. For example, if your child wants to double his or her math test scores, set an intermediate goal to improve a few points each test. If your child wants to improve his or her reading, use your child’s reading level as the starting measure and visit the library weekly to pick out books. Start with the current reading level and help your child chart improvements in reading levels.
  • Next, help kids keep their resolutions by setting an example. Tell your kids how you plan to keep your resolutions and create a chart for yourself.
  • Develop a visible chart for your child to use to measure and keep his or her resolution. For example, if your child wants to focus more on schoolwork, create an afterschool timeline. The timeline can be divided into half hour increments, outlining after school free time and homework time. Each day, record the time spent doing homework. Set a goal for how much time is spent on homework each day and chart the amount of study time. A chart can also be used for computer time, game time, or exercise.
  • After completing the chart, create an environment that will help your child keep the resolutions. You may want to have kids do homework in the kitchen or dining area and be available for questions. Create a phone free zone to encourage concentration. Instead of having computers and gaming devices in kids rooms, you may want to create a central family gaming area for computer use and video games. In addition to helping your kids keep track of time, a family gaming area allows you to monitor you’re your child is doing on the computer.
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