One child told a KSL reporter his resolution for the new year was "to make everything 25 cents." Another said, "To eat more ice cream." A new survey, however, shows that parents' hopes for kids are a bit more practical.
A new Harris Interactive survey for K12 Inc., an online provider of education products and services for students, says the top two goals parents wish their kids would embrace for the new year are cleaning their rooms and doing better in school.
Not a surprise.
The top five goals (according to what parents wanted) were:
Clean up their room more often (47 percent)
Be more engaged in school (33 percent)
Have healthier eating habits (33 percent)
Get more physical activity (33 percent)
Play fewer video games (29 percent)
Other goals parents wish their children had were minding manners (24 percent), better hygiene (22 percent), texting less and reading more (21 percent), being a better friend (11 percent) and other (4 percent).
"Overall, the survey speaks to the desire for kids to take personal responsibility, be engaged, and make good choices, from cleaning up their rooms to developing healthy eating habits to doing their homework," a press release from K12 said. "The resolutions parents chose confirm the findings of cognitive scientists — that much of life's success is made up of a series of well-executed basics repeated over time."
As long as goals and resolutions are being imposed on kids, here are a few from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
"I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong."
"I won't tease dogs or other pets — 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 reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only on special occasions."
"I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I'm playing sports."
Kids, 13 years old and up
"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."
"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."
Jacqueline Burt posted on "the Stir" blog about resolutions she wished kids would make. "Let's face it: The little buggers aren't gonna make ’em for themselves. What a peaceful and prosperous 2013 it would be if only we could hand them a self-improvement to-do list! Of course, it's hard enough sticking to our own resolutions — I'm pretty sure it would be near impossible to get our kids to exercise such willpower — but hey, a parent can dream, right?"
Some of Burt's dream resolutions include:
"I'll go to sleep when I go to bed and not stay up playing video games all night under my blanket."
"I won't hold my brother's head under water in the bathtub."
"I won't shove half of a banana into the bottom of my backpack after lunch and forget about it until Mom smells something funny."
"I promise not to ask the same question over and over and over and over and over again when I already know the answer."
"I will never ever spit out my gum in the backseat of Mom's car and stick it in the cupholder."
Laura Lewis Brown at PBS.org suggests making resolutions part of a family tradition: "Each family member gets a turn sharing something they are proud of and something they want to improve. It may help for parents to go first, to give children a model. If your child is old enough to write, he or she should write down their accomplishments and goals, and you can help your younger child by writing theirs down. Resolutions for the entire family might include taking a monthly hike, playing board games twice a month or committing to more volunteering activities. Try to limit the number so they are more doable and more meaningful."
The Harvard Homemaker blogger does something like what Brown at PBS.org suggested: "On New Year's Day each year, our girls now write out their own resolutions. Oftentimes they are more like "goals" — such as learning to read. We then hang their lists up in our kitchen, and they stay there all year long."
One 2010 goal for her 2-year-old girl was "No pooping in diaper."
"For the record," the Harvard Homemaker wrote, "she did attain that goal, and I wasn't changing any more diapers by the time 2011 rolled around! Woohoo!"
The other goals for that 2-year-old that year were "No being bossy" and "No tantrums."
That 2-year-old is now 4, and her 2012 goals still had "No tantrums" and "Try not to be bossy" as resolutions.
"I remember when it was time to write out her resolutions last year, we were going down the previous year's list of resolutions," Harvard Homemaker wrote. "As we read through them, it was like, 'Nope. Nope. Nope!' and onto the 2012 list most of those things went!! She made good progress this year, though, as a five-year-old!"