How to create New Year’s resolutions for kids
For kids, goal setting and making New Year’s resolutions can be as simple as wanting to buy a special toy from the store.
I’ve struggled with helping kids set attainable goals that are more meaningful than wanting new toys. When I was a teacher, I tried (and failed) to do a meaningful goal-setting activity each year as we returned from the Winter Break. Until I finally created the hopes, dreams, and wishes activity, which is what I’m sharing with you here!
In this blog post, I’m sharing the best goal-setting activity to help create New Year’s resolutions for kids! I’ll be covering:
- The importance of children’s goal setting
- How to be an example of goal setting for your kids
- How to create SMART goals for kids
- How to do the hopes, dreams, and wishes activity with your kids
- My hopes, dreams, and wishes free printable – DOWNLOADABLE FREEBIE!
So if you’re ready for your kids to feel accomplished and meet their goals this year, then you’re in the right place! You and your kids will love reflecting on the year and meeting your New Year’s resolutions together!
Why I almost gave up goal setting for good
As a teacher, I always tried to make the holidays special for my students. Because I taught elementary, it wasn’t developmentally appropriate for the kids to just come up with the perfect goal on their own.
Year after year, I tried different goal-setting activities in January to do something fun, topical, and meaningful as we returned from Winter Break, but we always ended the activity feeling frustrated with the empty promise of coming back to goal-setting another time.
I was absolutely fed up with wasting our time on these goal-setting activities, so I almost ditched them altogether. When I decided to give them one last try, I did tons of research on children’s goal setting, New Year’s resolutions for kids, and developmentally appropriate activities that help kids set meaningful goals.
From there, I finally created a hopes, dreams, and wishes goal-setting activity that worked for us! Before I knew it, the students and I were creating personal goals and curriculum-based goals that were actually realistic and attainable.
As we reflected on the semester just a few months later, almost all of my 70+ fifth graders had met their goals. About half of them had even exceeded their goals, set new ones, and met those goals, too! Those students left for the summer having learned the life skill of setting and reaching their goals.
This is exactly how to help your kids set their own New Year’s resolutions that are actually meaningful and achievable!
The importance of children’s goal setting
How to set goals and work towards achieving them from a young age can have major long-term impacts for children. Psychologists have found that the simple act of goal setting can improve your health, relationships with other people, and your ability to be productive at your job. Mastering the skill of setting attainable goals can even reduce depression, anxiety, and stress.
The big secret: How you can be an example of goal setting for your kids
There are several ways you can be a positive influence on your children’s goal setting. By setting and reaching your goals, your kids will be motivated to follow your lead.
- Create your goals side by side with your kids.
- Talk through your thought process out loud as you write down some goal ideas.
- Choose 1-2 “Goldilocks goals” to share with your kids. These goals aren’t too hard or too easy, but juuuust right for you.
- Specifically name things you’re doing to work towards your goals.
- For example, “Do you want to go to the park later? I want to check off today as one of my ‘get outside three times a week’ days.”
How to create SMART goals for kids
SMART is an acronym used for goal setting that means specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Helping your kids set SMART goals increases the chance that they will actually reach their goals, because you have to plan through these goals so thoroughly from the start.
Related: Sensory Play for Babies
How to do the hopes, dreams, and wishes activity with your kids
The hopes, dreams, and wishes activity is a simple way to help your kids set goals and make resolutions! Rather than using the abstract language of “tell me your goals for the year”, discuss what your kid wishes they could do, their big dream, or what they hope for themselves in the new year.
- Choose how you and your kids want to create your goals. (Remember: You and your kids are creating these goals together.)
- Start with at least one of the following hopes, dreams, and wishes sentence stems.
- Hopes: My hope for myself this year is _____. I will work on it by _____.
- Dreams: One day, I dream of _____, so I can _____.
- Wishes: If I had a magic wand, I would use it to wish for _____, because I want to _____.
- Discuss your completed hopes, dreams, and wishes sentences together.
- Transform your hopes, dreams, and wishes statements into actionable goals for the year.
- Extra credit! Fine tune your goals into SMART goals (optional).
Related: 12 Days of Christmas Books for Kids
Example of the hopes, dreams, and wishes activity
This is a completed example of the hopes, dreams, and wishes activity that was done by a fifth grader in my class. (Shared with permission. ♥)
- My hope for this year is to score goals at my soccer game. I will work on it by going to the park on the weekends with my brother to get better and working hard every day at soccer practice.
- One day, I dream of being a professional athlete, so I can be a famous soccer player.
- If I had a magic wand, I would use it to wish for new soccer cleats, because I want to run even faster.
The last step is to create your goal, using your hopes, dreams, and wishes statements.
- Example goal: I want to score at least three soccer goals at my games and help my team make it to the regional soccer playoffs.
Once I created this hopes, dreams, and wishes activity, I saw my students light up with inspiration as they had the tools to meet their goals. I had found the perfect New Year’s activity to springboard us into the spring semester.
Instead of filling out a goal-setting page that was mostly just a coloring sheet, the hopes, dreams, and wishes activity opened up so many great conversations with students and helped us all get to know each other better while meeting our goals. Plus, the kids even helped me stay accountable with my healthy eating goal on Donut Day. 😜
My hopes, dreams, and wishes free printable – DOWNLOADABLE FREEBIE!
I want this for you and your family, too! If you’re ready to ditch the boring goal setting talks and create goals you will actually reach, my Hopes, Dreams, and Wishes Activity is just the thing for you.
The biggest factor in setting attainable goals is creating a mindset for success. Even if you’re not ready to go all in on your New Year’s resolutions just yet, I have something that will help you and your kids easily create and stick to your goals. Get my FREE PRINTABLE: The Hopes, Dreams, and Wishes Activity! Use the form below to get INSTANT access to this done-for-you activity that includes 8 pages and multiple versions for all ages, including primary lined paper for little kids, sentence stems that older kids can fill in or type up, and extension activities your family will love!
Before you go, it would mean the world if you’d consider subscribing to the blog below. What’s one hope you have for the new year? Leave a comment below! We look forward to talking with you in the comments. For everything homeschool, we can PlanIt! ❤