A new year means a new start, and offers a good opportunity for parents and their kids to discuss goals for the coming months.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these suggestions for getting started:
• I will clean up my toys.
• I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
• I won’t tease dogs – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
Kids, 5 to 12 years old
• I will drink milk and water, and limit soda and fruit drinks.
• I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
• I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week.
• I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
• I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
• I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.
• I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.
Kids 13 years old and up
• I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink.
• I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
• I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
• I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
• I will wipe negative “self talk” (i.e. “I can’t do it” or “I’m so dumb”) out of my vocabulary.
• When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
• When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk with an adult about my choices.
• When I notice my friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
• I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence.
• I will resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.
• I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.