Teach your children simple ways to make change
The New Year is already here and as your family gets ready to hit the ground running with school activities, work and busy schedules, you might have questions about how to fit in your New Year’s resolutions. The experts at Dayton Children’s offer their top ten New Year’s resolutions for kids that can be easily accomplished. As parents, you should set realistic goals for your kids. Remember, small steps equal big results.
- Eat healthier – try to eat five fruits and vegetables each day and drink no sugary drinks.
- Get more active – spend less than two hours each day in front of the TV, computer or playing video games and get at least one hour of physical activity each day.
- Take care of your teeth – brush your teeth twice a day. Tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood disease.
- Be safe – make sure everybody in the car (including parents) is properly buckled in with a car seat, booster seat or seat belt.
- Give back – help someone else in the community through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
- Be kind – a smile and a kind word can go a long way. Tell your mom and dad, brothers and sisters or your friends that they are appreciated and loved. Be friendly to kids who don’t have any friends.
- Try new things – find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding a bike) you like and try to do it a few times a week.
- Protect yourself – never give out personal information such as your name, home address, school name or telephone number on the internet. Never send a picture of yourself to someone by cell phone, e-mail or the internet without your parent’s permission.
- Lend a helping hand – pick up after yourself, put your toys away when you’re done playing with them and don’t leave your dirty clothes on the floor. Your parents are very busy and need a little help.
- Express yourself – when you feel angry, frustrated or stressed out, take a break and find better ways to deal with these feelings, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking to your parents or a friend.
- Talk less, listen more – children and teenagers will tune out needless words and explanations. However, every kid is different; learn how your child responds to you best. Ask open-ended questions so that you don’t get one word answers. Keep the conversation going by not interjecting your opinion immediately but rather ask them what they think first.
- It’s not always about the QT – quality and quantity time with your children is very important. Put down the BlackBerry, turn off the TV and listen to your kids. Shorter periods of time spent each day is better than fewer longer periods of time. Talk to your kids at dinner, during car rides to school and activities or before bedtime.
- Give praise and allow failure – give positive feedback to your kids for their efforts but remember constructive criticism is also very important in the development of your children. According to Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children’s, “Sometimes, failure may be the best option for your children. It teaches them personal responsibility, coping skills and persistence.”
“Remember, it’s not always about making a big change right away, but about the little steps you take to make the changes,” says Dr. Ramey.
“By teaching your children to do simple things to improve their health, become more active or learn to help others, you and your family can all be happier and healthier.”