Ask the Guidance Center Experts: Managing Your Child’s New Year’s Resolutions

by | Dec 28, 2023 | Ask The Guidance Center Experts, Blog

In this monthly column, therapists from North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center answer your questions on issues related to parenting, mental health and children’s well-being. To submit a question, email

Question: With the New Year approaching, my daughter comes home from school every day with a different resolution she declares she wants to stick to. I love that she has goals she wants to accomplish, but I want to make sure she isn’t overwhelming herself with too many expectations. How can I help her manage her long list of New Year’s Resolutions, and support her in sticking to the ones she finds important?

-Realizing Realistic Resolutions

Dear Realizing Realistic Resolutions, 

As we approach the New Year, many of us are familiar with the enthusiasm our children bring home, declaring a myriad of resolutions they want to accomplish when the clock strikes midnight. It isn’t uncommon for children to overload themselves with things they would like to achieve, widely ranging from eating healthy to becoming the President. Kids need to feel a sense of mastery, and having an abundance of resolutions may make that difficult.

Support is integral in helping kids stay committed to their resolutions. It’s important to begin the conversation by expressing how proud you are of her desire to make choices that will positively impact her and foster an environment of open communication on her journey. Sit down with your child and go over the list together, picking out one or two objectives that are particularly meaningful and realistically achievable. Work together to create a reasonable timeline and break down the goals into smaller, actionable steps. Be sure to celebrate the progress along the way, making the experience enjoyable and enriching for your family. Does she want to be at the top of her class this year? Explain how often she’ll have to study to make that happen and celebrate every A on a test she brings home.

Watch out for signs that your child is overwhelmed, stressed, or frustrated. If she is falling short of her goals and expresses feelings of inadequacy, it’s essential to reassess the situation. This should be an enjoyable experience, so remind your daughter that setbacks are a natural part of growth, and that she can always adjust her resolutions to become more manageable. Always prioritize progress over perfection!

Lastly, encourage making positive changes all year long, not just on New Year’s Day. There is never a bad time to start a goal, and pushing it off until January 1st can make the task more daunting. This goes for adults, too! How often do you wait until the new year to get back into the gym instead of signing up for the membership then and there? New Year’s resolutions can be a great source of motivation, but remember that it’s up to you to make a change in your life, not a date on the calendar.

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. For 70 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit or call (516) 626-1971.

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