The New Year is the perfect time for you to kick bad habits and start new routines! And you doing this for yourself can be a great example for your children. Whether it’s cleaning up, sharing more, or keeping hands to themselves, here are three easy ways to give your kids resolutions this year from Molly Dresner, certified speech and language pathologist and author of The Speech Teacher’s Handbook.
1. Set Them Up For Success
It’s best to start with 1-3 small goals, depending on your child’s age and maturity level. You want them to be very aware of what the new expectations are, so that you set them up for success. Visuals are crucial so that everyone is reminded of the new rules. I like Melissa & Doug’s Responsibility Chart, but you can easily make your own. If your new goal is something that your little one should be doing in different places (home, school, etc.), make sure that there is a visual in every setting.
2. Support Is Key
As your child’s biggest supporter, YOU are in charge of the encouragement. Positive praise works wonders! You want to give specific compliments when you see your little one engaging in their new behavior (“That was awesome sharing!” “I love how you kept your hands to yourself!” “Way to clean up all of your toys!”). We all slip up on our resolutions; your child will be no exception. So when you see the old habit sneak in, give a gentle reminder, refer to the visual, and praise their efforts.
3. Stick With It
This is the hardest part for all of us! I know how daunting it can be to remain consistent all day everyday, especially when it comes to behavior management. But if we start small, set ourselves up for success, and build in support – we will see big changes quickly. It’s a team effort so call in siblings, friends, and other family members who can help remind & reinforce the wonderful new habits!
Additionally, here are some small tips for each age group!
Especially for children under 5, we want to reinforce the positive behaviors, so instead of saying “no yelling,” we say, “use an inside voice.” That way when you see your child using an inside voice, you can praise them using the same language.
· Use big kid words (i.e. instead of whining)
· Clean up after playing
· Brush teeth
· Use nice manners
· Help with family pet
· Make the bed
· Use appropriate language
· Help with household chores
· Finish homework