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Goals and Resolutions: Not Just for Grown-Ups

Who said resolutions and goals were strictly for adults? (Not us!) If you’re currently working on your own list, consider introducing your children to the tradition as a new year rolls around. Not only is a great teachable moment about the power of setting goals and sticking to them, but the practice of choosing an achievable resolution in 2021 can be a fun way for your littles to develop their communication and decision-making skills. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Get Started
To make things a success, start by explaining what a resolution is and give examples that you’ve set (and completed!) in the past. Focus on the positive and growth/improvement opportunities: use phrases like, “I’m going to do this …” instead of “I’m going to STOP doing this …” Also, help your child pick a goal that is both achievable and specific. If your child says, “be nicer” tweak it to: “I’m going to help my brother study before his weekly spelling tests” or “I’m going to sit with a new person at lunch each week.”

Need some inspiration? Here are a few:

  • Family time – “We’re going to have a pizza and game night every Friday.” Or, “we’re going to eat brunch together after church on Sundays.”
  • New skills – “I will learn how to play piano.” Or, “I will learn how to make rice krispies treats.”
  • Committing to chores – “I’m going to take the trash out after dinner every night.” Or, “I’m going to clean my bedroom each week.”
  • Chop screen time – “We’re going to read or play a board game for 30 minutes before bed instead of using our iPads.”

No matter what resolutions and changes you decide to make as a family, remember that it’s important to lead by example. If you stick to your own goal, your child is more likely to stick to his or hers, too. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust things along the way—that’s the beauty of a goal, after all. You can still check off the long-term goal from your list while making tweaks.

Advantages of Goal-Setting
As your children work on achieving a resolution, they’ll also build important life skills that they’ll carry with them for years to come. Things like self-reflection, self-advocacy, self-awareness and self-esteem will all be impacted for the better.

And, it goes without saying, but keeping things fun should be the top priority. Nobody will be motivated if the resolution feels like homework—so don’t nag them. Consider tracking progress with a visual reminder (star chart, marbles in a jar, stamps on a tracker) or even make it into a competition among family members (who can stick to their goal the longest?). Either way, make it meaningful and they’ll be excited to make a resolution next year, too.

Resolve to Learn Together?
Is quality family time or an interest in learning about other cultures important to your family this year? Little Learning Hands subscription boxes are the perfect solution. Not only will you carve time away from addicting screens and technology, but you’ll grow together in the best of ways. Learning about people different from yourselves will increase awareness and empathy for others—and it’s a wonderful way to start a new year full of compassion and understanding.