07 Dec New Year’s Resolutions for Parents and for Children – Plus Holiday Parenting Tips
As the year winds down, it’s time to take stock of how the first half of the school year went. And, during the holidays, it can be tempting to leave school habits behind. However, come January, you might be wishing you had stayed the course. And what are New Year’s resolutions anyway? Consider reframing them for parents and kids to build new habits.
Mid-year Holiday How’s School Going Review
Children have been in school for half a year now. You’ll be getting their grades soon, or you may have gotten them at Thanksgiving (if you are on a trimester system). As you read this, if your kids are in middle school, they may be taking mid-term exams. Over the holidays and into the new year is a great time to take stock and reassess. One thing we would urge you to consider is, when you make decisions about your child learning needs, that you involve your children in the decisions that most directly affect them. It can make it more challenging up front, but the dividends of getting them involved in picking the solutions are priceless.
Try Sticking, Mostly, to School Time Routines Even Over the Holidays
Over the holidays, it can be tempting to let bedtime, wake up times and learning times slide completely. However, that can be a slippery slope that you and your child may have to trudge back up that steep hill come January. Yes, it is fine to loosen stricter routines a bit, but it can be very helpful to keep some of them in place. Maybe bedtime and/or wake up times can be a half-hour later. But sticking with specific times, rather than something that is haphazard, will make getting back to school on time much easier. Of course, adapt these suggestions to what works for your own family.
The same with studying. It can be tempting to slack off on learning too. As adults we know how hard it can be to restart something once we’ve stopped. You might find ways to modify learning/homework times that are more relaxed, but not drop them all together. Teachers emphasize that keeping up with math and spelling “facts” (flash cards for math or word-building – or whatever learning aids you already use) can be a big help in keeping our little ones in a learning mode. Kids don’t need to be doing worksheets but looking through your child’s folder from school and seeing what skills they can practice during homework times – but tackle it in a more relaxed fashion.
Parenting New Year’s Resolution Number 1 – Make Time to Recharge your own Batteries
Our winter prescription for parents is self-care first. What new (or existing, or former) habit can you build on that will create space for you to breathe or get grounded in the new year. Is it trading off with your spouse (or hiring a sitter) to have 30 minutes to a couple of hours of “you” time a few days a week: take a walk, relax while puttering around the garden, or take a hot bath; try reading a book with some hot cocoa, or watch a movie; get a massage or a manicure; meditate, take a yoga class, go to the gym or hop on your exercise bike (or real bike in the spring). Carve out a bit of time to put some gas in your tank…if you have no energy, the family bus isn’t getting very far.
If you can, also carve out some time a few times a month to do something as a couple or, especially if you are a single parent, with friends.
Number 2: New Year’s Resolution for Parents – Select this One for Yourself
The same way below we’ll suggest that you involve your child in making his or her resolutions, we’re going to turn this one back to you. Take some time to look at what you would like next year to look like. Are there goals you want to accomplish, are there old hobbies you’d like to renew, or is there some learning goal that you want to achieve – going back to school, gaining a certification, or a work program? If that is one of your goals you could end up connecting with your child in a whole new way, by studying together. We’ve suggested some lofty goals, but you can, of course, pick something much simpler. This one is all up to you.
Number 3 Resolution Could be One on Behalf of your Child: Consider if an Afterschool Enrichment Program Would Benefit Him or Her
Enrolling your child in an afterschool enrichment, such as math or reading/writing program, in the new year is a solid resolution whether your child loves learning or is more of a reluctant learner. Programs like those ALOHA runs, support children in math or language arts (reading and writing), in ways that both build skills and develop confidence. Eager learners move beyond their existing skill set and those who are behind can catch up to their peers in our teacher-led, small group classes.
Reframe New Year’s Resolutions for Kids (and Adults) into Building Habits
Instead of thinking of “New Year’s resolutions” for kids – how about reframing it as building habits that will help make your child’s life better or easier. Finding a resolution that will work for a child requires his or her buy-in. While it can be hard to resist telling a child some good ideas, asking them what they would like to do or add or make progress on in the next year, makes it more likely that they will have success
You can also make a deal to help them achieve a goal. For a child who loves to read, parents can agree to take their child to the local library twice a month…if the child agrees to set a stronger habit of reading 20 to 30 minutes daily. (Bonus parenting tip here – there is evidence that when children see their parents reading, it reinforces the reading habit in a very strong way). If parents agree to do the same thing, maybe at bedtime, it only reinforces the new habit. Another healthy habit or resolution, if your child is drawing a blank about setting a new habit, is to find a non-screen activity the child likes to do then aiming for twice a week. Help children think through what they like most – do they love nature – maybe it is a walk in the park daily or, once spring comes learning to garden (you can help them look at seed or garden catalogues now). There are so many things from soccer, knitting, singing in chorus at school or choir at church, join the girl or boy scouts to chess.
From keeping kids on track over the holidays, to New Year’s Resolutions for parents, ALOHA Mind Math has your back. Resolutions or building new habits, finding time to relax or practicing math flash cards, this season brings many opportunities and choices. We hope you make the best of them!