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Help your kids make their own resolutions

Once the ball drops so do our good-intended resolutions. Yep, Christmas is barely over and the commercials are already running non-stop for weight-loss, gym memberships, financial advisers. They're all ready to help us. Or maybe help themselves. At any rate,  my resolutions rarely work out, and I know I'm not alone.

I've read that roughly 80 percent of Americans make resolutions, and only about 8 percent succeed. Still, we try.

This year, I am not going to do it alone. I am working with my daughter, Emma, who just turned 5, to figure out what she can do to be her best self. (Yes, I borrowed that phrase from Oprah.) The way I look at it, having Emma make a resolution can highlight something she can work on. Something that she can change for the better, something small that will end up being a pretty big life lesson. I started off giving some suggestions:

  • Eat more broccoli and other veggies.
  • Clean up after herself more often.
  • Earn an allowance and save it.

After much consideration, Emma decided that she would work on cleaning up after herself more often. As her mom, I will play a role in this, it's my job to teach her how to change for the better. I won't nag, but I will gently remind and encourage her.  Fingers crossed.

We also talked about doing something together. Again, I gave her some options:

  • Have a monthly family date night.
  • Learn something new together every month.
  • Save money together for vacation.

It didn't take long for Emma to decide that a monthly family date night sounded best. Obviously this is on me and my husband.

Then of course - what might be the most important part of this - my resolution to be a better parent - which will benefit everyone in the house. I thought about a couple of ideas:

  • unplug more often
  • slowdown

After really thinking about what I CAN do, I decided that I will try and unplug from technology more often. I will work out a schedule for when I can work online, be on my phone, and yes when I can fit in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I realize that being a better person is something you should work on all year long, but this is an opportunity for teaching moments, so we will give it a shot.

I've learned over time that the idea is to be specific with the resolution. It should be reasonable. If the resolution isn't attainable, it will backfire on why you are doing it in the first place. This isn't about causing stress or getting anyone (or everyone) frustrated. It's about working on being better people.

Hopefully, we will be in that lucky 8 percent.

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