While you may have little party monsters on your hands, your kids will likely not stay up to watch the ball drop during New Year’s Eve (if you are lucky). So, one way you can get them feeling jazzed about the holiday is by helping them craft a slideshow featuring their 2018 resolutions. Here’s how.
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Make it a Tradition
You spend the entire holiday season giving gifts to other people, but resolutions are the gifts you give yourself. The bonus of making resolution slideshows with your kids is that you’re creating an enduring digital tradition that builds character and tech skills. Good multitasking!
Sit down as a family on New Year’s Eve, reflect on the past year, and set some goals for the next. See what each family member enjoyed in 2017 — the time you all dressed up like the family cat for Halloween? — and explore individual successes, like how the littlest kicked his nose-picking habit. Next, discuss areas in need of improvement — you won’t have trouble finding a few. Talk about why you’re starting this family tradition and the benefits of changing and evolving as people.
Make Them Specific
Each resolution has a goal and an objective. So, figure out what the kids want to achieve and help them figure out what behavioral changes they can make to get there. Make several (not several hundred) resolutions. Be specific and break each idea down. If it’s too broad, they’ll likely feel overwhelmed and give up more quickly. “I will be nice to my sister” isn’t a winner, but “I will get along better with my sister by not pulling her hair” might minimize household brawls. Let the rewards be emotional. Frame goals around feelings, like: “I will make myself proud by walking the dog twice a day, so that she doesn’t pee all over the house.”
Make It Count and Make It Fun
Resolutions help kids grow because they are getting praise when they do the right thing but not punished when they don’t. This gives parents room to make it fun and make it count.
Achieve accountability by making a resolution for the whole family. For example, try being green and conserving water and energy by shutting off lights when leaving a room or taking shorter showers. Parents can show their kids that they are responsible by not taking hourlong rinses or keeping the house lit up like a Christmas tree.
Start when they’re young and keep it fun. Maybe your two-year-old needs to learn to keep it in the potty, so put colorful cereal like Fruit Loops in there and encourage them to “hit the targets.” If a cleaner room is their goal, make sure to play upbeat music — something like Barney’s “Clean Up Song,” Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold,” or even Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” — to get them whipping it into shape with a smile. You’ll make their resolutions feel less like tasks.
Once you have your resolutions mapped out, it’s time to digitize. Making a slideshow offers kids an opportunity to spend time thinking and doing something about their resolutions. They’ll be drilled in their heads as your kids type them out, set fonts, and decide if they’ll scroll across the screen or just pop up. Kids can get poetic and pepper in motivational quotes. They can pick their favorite music and images to set the tone of the show. This way they’re not just saying they’ll do something, they’re making them happen.
If they’re using a laptop or tablet, Movavi is a free, easy program that partners with Intel to optimize the most cutting-edge technology. Slidely and Animoto are simple, kid-friendly apps that work on any smartphone. Google Slides is also excellent and easy to use.
Encourage your kids to get creative. Kids can use the text options in these programs to type in their resolutions, but they can also create collages of images that remind them of their plans. For example, a budding pianist who wants to get better at tickling the keys could cut out images of Norah Jones or Stevie Wonder from old issues of Rolling Stone. Scan their collages on a Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner, then take a photo with a smartphone and include the images in the slideshow. Then, they have both a hard copy and a digital reminder of the resolution.
Coming Full Circle
Bring up the resolutions formally once a week. Play the slideshow while everyone eats breakfast together, and see what progress the family has made. Always offer positive reinforcement. Everyone loves a compliment. Set a calendar reminder to check in throughout the year.
Since the resolutions are achievable, you and your kids should be able to stick with them, but when you don’t, it’s a good time to model self-forgiveness and change. So, you missed three days of not pulling your sister’s hair. Or you went to visit Grandma, so you didn’t walk the dog and now the house stinks? Doesn’t matter. Today’s a new day. Failure is a learning experience, too! The slideshow will remind them to stick with it because they have their whole family supporting them on loop.
Liz Tracy is a Miami-bred, Boston-based freelance writer, editor, and mother.
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