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Every New Year, we take pleasure in the opportunity to press the proverbial reset button. As adults, we feel a renewed spirit to resolve to do things differently. We will stop biting our nails, start journaling again, spend less time at work, spend more time with our families, adopt a healthier diet or exercise regularly. Resolutions are just promises we make to ourselves. They can be made at every age but should be adjusted to fit the developmental level of the one making them. Setting attainable goals is a great way to instill a feeling of accomplishment and success early in a child’s life.

1.  In my 5-year-old daughter’s world, concrete concepts are best. She observes her older brother doing things that are just beyond her grasp which can lead to frustration. Rather than crying and storming away, she needs to learn strategies for using her words to express her anger. This year, she will create her own simple sticker chart to celebrate her successes when she chooses to communicate her emotions verbally rather than physically. As the stickers fill the chart, she’ll achieve rewards at certain intervals. This visual representation of her progress should help her achieve her goal. Fingers crossed.

2. In my 7-year-old son’s world, he is showing tremendous growth in how he approaches different situations emotionally and socially. However, at bedtime, he seems to forget that the day was filled with fun experiences like going to see a movie, wrestling with his daddy, and having a frozen yogurt. Instead, he focuses on what he did NOT get to do. This year,  we plan to work on helping him recognize what he accomplished by starting a journal. Before he goes to bed, we’ll sit together and write about our day. We hope this nightly self-reflection will help him adopt more of a glass-is-half-FULL outlook.

3. In Michele’s 10-year-old’s world, LISTENING to instructions and SHOWING RESPECT (two things that often go hand in hand) could use a little tweaking. It’s a natural time in every child’s life to start questioning and even challenging authority a bit. And, while we don’t want to crush their independent spirits entirely, it’s a good opportunity to remind our little people that very often rules are in place for a reason … whether it be their safety, the courtesy of others or simply social decorum. So, in an effort to encourage these important life skills, perks like TV time, electronics and even other special treats that were previously given blindly will now be part of an earned reward system for desired behavior.

4. In Michele’s 13-year-old’s world, electronics of all kinds can become not only an addiction but also a very poor substitute for much-needed physical outdoor activity. In her household, their intention is to use these gaming systems when guests come over for a visit or in moderation on school nights as a reward for completing homework efficiently, superior performance on a test or some other display of positive attitude. And, in addition to decreasing indoor activity, there will also be an effort to increase outdoor activity to at least five days a week with friends or family. Michele says she’s lucky that her boy likes sports so much and has already begun seeing a shift in his choice of activity. 

Whatever the resolution and whatever the age, the important thing is that a family participates in this activity as a team. It’s a great opportunity to reevaluate ourselves, support each other and grow together. And who among us can’t use a little improvement?

About Melissa

Melissa is the founder and editor of According to Mags, a blog about her children’s silly antics that keep her and her readers entertained. She also co-produces with her husband a children’s story podcast called Night Light Stories. Melissa is the proud mom of a seven-year-old boy and five-year-old girl. She holds a Masters degree in Special Education and is in her thirteenth year of teaching. Mel has taught all grade levels from preschool to grade five in both general and special education. Currently, she is a supervisor for student teachers at Walden University as well as a Homebound Teacher in the evenings.

About Michele

Michele is the founder and editor of Old Dog New Tits, an award-winning blog about whatever craziness crosses her family’s path. She is a freelance writer for various websites, magazines and newspapers and is always looking for new projects. She hopes to publish some of her independent work in the near future. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Arts Administration. As a married mother of two from New Orleans, she is actively involved in her children’s lives and has served as everything from Room Mom to Brownie Leader to even PTA President. She loves cheese almost as much as her children and thought it imperative that she include that fact in her biography.

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