Year after year, we are all given the opportunity to "begin afresh" with New Year's Resolutions. It's not just a time for adults to buy gym memberships; it’s also a wonderful teaching moment for parents and influencers in children's lives to use this irresistibly magnetic holiday to create lifelong habits. On December 8, The American Academy of Pediatrics published tips for New Year’s resolutions for kids that included these three resolutions for preschoolers:
“I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.”
More and more, children are being taught the fundamentals of kindness from an early age. Chris Phelps, Dallas Mom and founder of the Campaign for Kindness, says, “We want children to believe that they can make the world a better place, simply by being kind to the people around them.”
One of those fundamentals of kindness is to curb bad words and behaviors early in life. It’s normal for most children to experiment with dirty words and dirty jokes in the course of growing up. They will also repeat powerful or offensive words that they hear adults use. Have your child make a New Year's resolution to practice the kindness taught in Margo's (Max's) Magnificent Choice. Use the accompanying Tacky Box to combat powerful, offensive or tacky words and behaviors in a way that can be reinforced all year long, helping kids to keep their resolution to be nice.
“I won't tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.”
Pets can be unnerved by small children. Sometimes the noises children make or pulling on fur while petting will startle dogs or cats, which could lead to harm to the child.
“Most dogs, even those that are well-trained, do not consider children as figures of authority. Furthermore, since children frequently stare intently at animals, a dog may feel threatened by this short person who is trying to ‘catch’ him,” says Sandi Laird, the animal care director at Operation Kindness — the original and largest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas.
She continues, “Children should be taught and reinforced to never hit dogs with their hands or an object, to lower their voices when playing with the dog, to leave the dog alone when he's sleeping, eating, or ill, and to never tease a dog in any fashion.”
“I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.”
Plano Pediatric Dentist Dr. Catherine Judd says, “By sticking to this resolution from an early age, children will learn the importance of good hygiene and will continue to keep brushing their teeth and washing their hands as a matter of habit as they grow into adulthood. By giving children small fun toothbrushes, perhaps with their favorite cartoon character like Barbie, Cars, or Hello Kitty, you can help them keep the resolution so it isn’t like a chore.”
She continues, “Remember, after brushing, ask them if their teeth feel clean and have them ‘double check’ with their tongue. If not, brush again.”
Also included in this list is “I will pick up my toys and put them where they belong” and “I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help, or I’m scared.”
In a world where the odds of adults keeping their New Year’s resolutions for an entire year are 1 in 8, it’s never too early to recognize the importance of impressing on the younger generation the necessity for the foundations that last not just a year, but through a lifetime.