Any milestone can be used to implement new habits, and traditionally New Year’s is a time for fresh starts. Creating New Year’s resolutions is a great time to start a new pattern with your child.
Tactile children will like the idea of group resolutions, where the whole family decides to implement a new behavior. Perhaps everyone will now take their own dishes to the sink, or the TV stays off during dinner, or the whole family walks the dog together. Ensure that your tactile child knows they are taking part in a new family tradition and that the new rules apply to everyone — they will want to take part. Allowing your tactile child some ìenforcement dutyî will cement the desire to take part, but keep it manageable. Thing like making sure everyone puts their boots in the basket at the door, or that dirty clothes are put in the hamper are all easy tasks that will help promote your child’s self esteem and keep the house tidy.
Visual children will respond to more personal resolutions, and will like putting up a chart that can easily be viewed. It is especially potent if you can stick a picture next to each new habit and create a visual reward system, such as a smiley stamp or sticker, for each time they complete the new habit. Be sure to add in some easy items amongst the newer, harder tasks — perhaps tasks that they already do, such as brushing teeth every morning. This will guarantee that the star chart shows improvement straight away, with only a few things to improve upon. Add new tasks slowly as their self-esteem is often attached to results, rather than improvement.
Auditory children will want to chat about what how and why each new resolution should be made. Make sure to explain how their completing a task helps the whole family run smoothly. For example, making sure they pick up all their toys means that mom and dad won’t tread on them or accidentally break them. These detailed explanations help to cement the reason behind a new habit — you almost can’t over-explain to an auditory child! Remember to heap on the verbal praise once done.
Taste and smell children will respond to habits that bring some emotional reward. They will be great at reminding you to call grandma, to make sure the keys are in the key bowl, or that their little brother has his shoelaces tied. Since your taste and smell child is interested in helping others, be sure to explain how he helps you when doing even personal chores such as making the bed or tidying up. Mom and Dad have fewer trips to the dentist when you brush and floss; friends feel welcome if they see your bed made. They will be very good at looking after others, so entrusting them to pet needs is a good choice.
New Year’s resolutions can be great for teaching new habits and tidying up a perhaps slack routine. By shaping habits around your child’s dominant sense you can make it an empowering activity rather than a boring “have to” chore. This helps set your child up with positive connotations towards self- improvement with is such a positive gift to give your child for the New Year.
Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com