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5 New Year’s resolution ideas for kids that promote healthy habits

Get healthy with these resolutions as a family

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Are New Year’s resolutions still relevant in today’s tech savvy, social media age? Turns out the practice of setting a goal for yourself to change or start a new habit still has a place with many people setting a New Year’s resolution at the start of every year. New Year’s resolutions actually have quite a long track record.

The practice of setting goals when welcoming in a new year date all the way back to the ancient Babylonians. Back then, New Year’s Day was celebrated in March, not January. The ancient Romans also had the practice of kicking off a new year with resolutions, as did early Christians. Today, New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily based on religion. Instead, New Year’s resolutions are more personal and often involve losing weight, getting the finances in order, ditching a bad habit like smoking as well as decluttering, or organizing the house.

Of course, while lots of people make resolutions at the start of a new year, these goals often fall by the wayside by Valentine’s Day. According to the American Psychological Association, the secret to keeping New Year’s resolutions is to limit your resolutions to small goals instead of broad ones, like losing weight or cutting down on screen time.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for adults either. Kids and teens can benefit from setting goals or resolutions for the upcoming year. Make New Year’s resolutions for kids a family affair this year. Setting them together can be a great family activity. People are more likely to keep a resolution when there’s someone holding them accountable.

family following through on a New Year's resolution to exercise
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New Year’s resolutions for the family

Of course, teens and tweens will roll their eyes at parents when it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions for the family. That’s okay. Tweens and teens do that for most ideas parents have. Don’t let teen angst discourage you from making New Year’s resolutions for the kids a family affair.

Starting a new year off by trying to make changes promoting healthier habits for the family is a wonderful idea and one that benefits the whole house. When setting New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming year, be SMART. SMART is actually an acronym that can help kids and adults stick to those resolutions. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Set resolutions with clear goals
  • Measurable: Track progress
  • Achievable: Keep goals small
  • Relevant: Make sure the resolutions apply to your family
  • Time-bound: Incorporate a timeline

It’s often used by businesses to help set and achieve goals.

Two kids playing on phones
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Top New Year’s resolutions for kids

While there are a lot of ideas for creating New Year’s resolutions for the family, it’s important to set goals the entire house is on board with. Have a family meeting to discuss New Year’s resolutions for the whole family to develop healthy habits. On New Year’s Day, brainstorm some potential resolutions to create a healthier atmosphere for everyone. Remember to keep the SMART acronym in mind. For inspiration, here are five family-centered New Year’s resolutions that work for kids and adults.

Put down those devices

Who doesn’t need to spend less time on their smartphones or other electronic devices? Being tied to electronics is an addiction for kids, teens, and adults. Help everyone in the family spend less time on their devices by making a New Year’s resolution. Remember to be specific about your family resolutions. Perhaps you decide to prohibit smartphones and other devices during meals. That means phones and iPads aren’t allowed at the table for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Another way to limit electronics is to set a certain time when all the devices have to power down and be put away. A way to limit electronic devices can be to make the bedroom a device-free zone.

Get active

Kids and adults have gotten more sedentary in recent years, especially following the pandemic. Encouraging family members to be more active is a healthy habit benefiting everyone. Don’t just set a New Year’s resolution to exercise as a family. Set a goal that can be measured and achieved. For example, make a resolution to go for a 20-minute walk four times a week. With busy after-school schedules, it can be hard to commit to a daily walk, but four times a week is certainly doable. Put it on the calendar and soon those walks will become a healthy habit everyone looks forward to. Make the resolution time-bound by committing to a family walk/run 5K in the upcoming months.


Being a volunteer has been shown to have long-term mental and physical health perks. Volunteering as a family is a way to instill altruism in kids and teens while making them happier and healthier. An achievable New Year’s resolution is to volunteer together once a month. Volunteering can be cleaning out the closets to donate clothes, sending a care package to military members through a local veteran’s organization, playing games at a senior center, or helping at a local animal shelter.

Eat healthier

Most of us could benefit from eating less junk food and more greens. Ways to eat more vegetables is to start having Meatless Mondays. Another way is to limit takeout dinners to once or twice a month. Cooking meals at home is healthier and cheaper too.

Go to bed at a regular time

Most Americans are sleep deprived, and that includes kids, too. Who isn’t guilty of staying up too late to watch Netflix or losing track of time when scrolling through Instagram? Adults need seven to eight hours, school-aged kids need nine to 12, and teens need eight to 10. A New Year’s resolution to get more sleep is probably one everyone is willing to get under the covers for.

New Year's resolutions
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More New Year’s resolutions for kids and teens

Other reasons New Year’s resolutions often fail are not being held accountable and finding it hard to change. When it comes to kids’ New Year’s resolutions, there is a built-in accountability right in the house. Committing to a New Year’s resolution together means there is already a support system within the family. Everyone is holding each other accountable to the goal set. Of course, it’s difficult to break old habits, but when the whole family is focused on changing something the odds for success go up. Here are some more New Year’s resolutions for kids the whole family can benefit from.

Spending more time together

With everyone’s busy schedules, it can be tough to find enough time to spend together as a family. This is one resolution where you don’t want to be too broad. Instead, make small changes like instituting a monthly family movie night. A weekly one might be hard to commit to, but a monthly one is easier. Just make sure everyone puts it on the calendar. Taking turns choosing the monthly movie also keeps everyone invested. You can do the same thing by popping in a monthly game night.

Getting organized

Organization is another New Year’s resolution on a lot of people’s lists. This is an important life skill kids and teens need too. The kiddos will be heading off to college before you know it and teens who are better at organizing and managing their time are more successful. Start by keeping a family calendar either an old-fashioned one in the kitchen or sink those smartphones. This way no one will forget a dentist appointment or when that English paper is due.


Stuff multiplies when you have kids. As the clutter grows so does the feeling of hopelessness. If your family goal is to declutter for the new year, start simple. Clean out the junk drawer in the kitchen. Take a rainy, sports-free Saturday to have each family member clear all the clothes they don’t wear anymore or the ones that don’t fit out of the closet. Donate the gently used clothes. You can also pick one declutter project a month with all hands on deck.

A family enjoying dinner together
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Kids’ New Year’s resolutions

A new year is like a blank canvas, especially if the past year has been a challenging one. Setting New Year’s resolutions that help promote healthy habits will most certainly benefit you and your family in the long run. Creating New Year’s resolutions as a family is a great idea because individuals are more apt to keep them when there’s a common goal and when there are others keeping participants accountable. Use the SMART acronym and have a family meeting this New Year’s. Decide on resolutions that work for your family. New Year’s resolutions for kids and adults need to be specific. To help, we’ve given you achievable, kid-friendly resolutions for the new year.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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