Creating resolutions on New Years Day is an annual tradition I always look forward to with my kids.
As they get older it’s really interesting to sit and hear their thoughts on the things they would like to explore and learn. Not only do we enjoy getting creative with writing out or drawing our resolutions for the year, we also talk about new activities and skills we might want to master…and that goes for myself as well!
The best way to teach is to lead by example.
So print off one of these worksheets created by Austin Kids Retreat for your kids and for yourself >> 2020-Resolutions-PDF-Download
Why Should You Complete Resolutions in Front of Your Kids?
A common theme amongst mom’s/dad’s who take on the intense role of being the stay at home parent is a loss of self-identity. Of being “just” a mom or dad. Now, this isn’t something that is a fact for every parent and only applicable to stay-at-home parents. But I have found it to be more true to stay at home parents because there is less opportunity with being home to focus on developing other skills or partaking in new opportunities (versus the typical working parent who is challenged with new skills, interacts with new adults and in turn learns new skills/activities, or travels to new places and has new experiences). So again – we are generalizing here for the sake of this article.
So back to being “just a parent”.
We are a society of labelers. We like to know who/what things are so we can neatly categorize that item/person in our head. It helps bring order to a lot of the chaos in the world. And while might think that labels are silly, they are actually so important that they can be absolutely life-changing (read on to see what I mean…)
“I’m NOT a math person”.
This is a label. By making this statement you are labeling yourself as someone who is not proficient at math. But what if…that was all wrong.
There have been many well-documented psychological studies that show the biggest difference in those who are “good at math” and “bad at math” is in the belief that you are bad/good at that subject.
Instead of believing that they/you are able to grow your intelligence with hard work, we simply draw on the belief that we are genetically inclined to be good or bad at something.
And yes – there is a degree of genetics involved in intelligence. But creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in telling ourselves we are simply not-inclined to learn a certain subject because other people are more prepared and therefore do better in a subject is a more common reason to “not be a math person” and why some people don’t excel at certain subjects!
To read more thoughts on this subject, including links to many great studies check out this article:
So labels. They’re silly in concept. But in life – it’s our belief in those labels that make the biggest difference. So I challenge my friends who believe they are “just a stay at home parent” or “just a business exec” to make a list of 5-10 things that you would love to learn and derive a way to achieve that goal beyond listing the goal itself on paper.
Examples of How to Go Beyond Goal Setting
In 2020 I will get better at…cooking.
Don’t leave it at that!
Identify HOW will you become a good cook?
Will you take a cooking class? Will it be in person or an online course? Which course? Will you eschew the online course and maybe challenge yourself to cook through an entire cookbook?
In 2020 I will do less…time on social media.
How will you achieve this?
Will you set timers? What will you do when you’re inclined to pick up your phone? Will you delete apps altogether? Will you put a “phone basket” on your entry table or on the kitchen table and have the whole family turn in their phones at 6 pm until the next day? Will you choose a new habit instead – like reading a book? Personally, I enjoy audible and e-books but with little eyes watching I’ve decided to make it a goal to read one actual hard copy book a month in front of my kids! Using the time I would normally watch tv or surf social media before bed, I now sit and read!
In 2020 I will learn…how to craft/paint.
How will you achieve this?
Will you set a weekly date night to paint to Netflix’s Bob Ross program? Will you buy a calligraphy book? Will you challenge yourself to complete one craft a week with your child (bonding and learning new skills together)?
Now instead of just being a parent your a talented well-read cook and artist! THEN, you can even plan out how you will build on these skills the next year:
-In 2021 you will host a dinner party once a month or create a dinner club with other families
-In 2021 you will learn how to monetize your crafting…selling calligraphy prints, making an etsy business, upcycling furniture, or maybe just helping your child monetize their craft
-In 2021 you will host a monthly book club and build your real-life social circle rather than having your focus centered on the social media one. You will have your child host their own book club as well! Or maybe for parents of younger kids, you will start a monthly library meet-up and storytime!
You are creating opportunity in your life to have new experiences, to be someone of interest, and to show your child a good example of how developing new skills can enrichen their own lives!
Intentions vs Goals
The point here is that you shouldn’t JUST set a goal and be done.
Take the time this New Years to set INTENTIONS. The difference here with an intention vs a goal is that when you set an intention, you outline how you will achieve this intention/goal. You can envision how to build onto this intention
So go beyond the “I will lose weight” and instead outline how you will do so. And as a parent – I challenge you to envision how you can set your intentions and include your child! Maybe you cook with them, incorporate Bob Ross Family Art Days, do family yoga every morning, or decide to learn a new language so label every item in the house with flashcards of the translated word. Challenge the family to only talk in this new language over breakfast!
Make It A Family Thing
There are sooooo many ways to build out fantastic new family skillsets (or individual skillsets with you as the role model). I encourage that whatever skillset you choose to do that you positively encourage your child to participate with you but don’t necessarily force them. When we are open-minded and receptive to the new idea and choosing it on our own, we are significantly more likely to achieve the goal! Forcing your child could create a negative association with new things or with the new skill.
Now – I say this but I also want to remind you that while you shouldn’t always force compliance to learn the new skill, it isn’t necessary to make it easy for them to forego the activity or to not have rules to work within.
Ex. “No you don’t have to read right now, but you also cannot be on your phone or watch tv. Please choose a quiet activity to do during this time” (For younger kids lay out the activity choices to be 2-3 acceptable choices).
Ex. “No, you don’t have to give up social media. But we’re limiting our family to 1 hour of screentime a day and by 6 pm all screens off so choose how you use your screentime wisely”
Ex. “No, you don’t have to help me cook dinner. But you do need to help clean while I’m cooking if you’re not going to help cook – go ahead do the dishes, set the table, and once you’re done with that please scrub xyz!” – this will keep them close to the kitchen and ask for help getting ingredients, stirring dishes, etc to start piquing their curiosity! This also makes alternative choices seem less appealing. I will say – my goal would be to have a cooking assistant AND a kid who helps with the chores. But if you have a child who is busy cooking with you – they can also be busy cleaning WITH you when those chores are tackled later. Cooking is a great way to challenge your child to be creative, try new foods as they taste while they cook, and help create new menus!
Download the PDF now : 2020-Resolutions-PDF-Download
(Feel free to go beyond the three-item limit on this sheet and build out your intentions for the month….the year…even the next 5 years!)
While helping your children set their own resolutions are great and empowering, it’s also a great thing to do with your spouse! Consider setting aside some time with your significant other to set your individual intentions and then once you’ve shared your individual goals, create some family goals!
One of the keys to success that I’ve found in both being a parent and in running a preschool and drop-in childcare center is in the preparation. Rather than scrambling around for a schedule or activities last minute, we carefully plan out the schedule ahead of time from crafting to what our STEAM goal of the day is to seasonal lesson plans we might want to implement. So rather than floundering to be on the right page with your partner in front of your child, try to put together these goals privately beforehand so you are prepared for success! The greatest benefit in this is that you and your spouse will have a great opportunity to help guide your child’s goals to be on the same page as your own goals for them. Of course, there should be ample room for independence and exploration of their personal goals, but as authoritative figureheads in their lives, we should seize any opportunity to guide them!
Not sure when you’ll have the time to connect with your spouse on these resolutions with the kids running around? Austin Kids Retreat is conveniently located in West Austin, in the Four Points area and will be open normal weekday hours for drop-in childcare on New Years Day – 7 am – 10 pm! Reserve your spot for NY Day today. Enjoy connecting with your spouse while your kids enjoy our well-prepared activities at our Austin STEAM childcare center.