New Year’s Resolutions for Young Students

Learning Tips, Tips for Parents

Here at Mentor, we’ve been reflecting on the year gone by.

We are feeling proud of our achievements, thankful for the great things about 2023, and thinking of areas in which we can improve and grow.

Whilst New Year’s resolutions are a tradition for many, some may think that young students are not old enough to participate – but in fact setting goals with your children or pupils can be an extremely valuable exercise. Not only does it help children practice self-discipline, introduce a sense of structure into their learning, and galvanise their enthusiasm for education, it’s also a fun way to kick off the school term in January. Here are some of our top tips for making 2024 New Year’s resolutions.

Creating New Year’s Resolutions: How to Start

Approaching a New Year’s resolution should be a bit like planning any other goal or activity: it needs to start with a sensible plan. We find the SMART guidelines to be useful, here: specific; measurable; attainable; results-oriented; and time-bound.

Setting specific goals (S): Make sure the resolution includes details of what needs to be achieved, by when, and how it will be done, i.e.: ‘I will improve my reading skills by reading one new extra-curricular book a month.’

Setting measurable goals (M): Try and check in regularly to ensure that the resolution is being stuck to, or make sure your child keeps a record of their progress over time (perhaps with a chart or by making entries in a journal, i.e.: ‘During week one I read 50 pages; during week two I read 30 pages’ etc.).

Setting attainable goals (A): You can really help your child or pupil to achieve their goal by ensuring that it is challenging but not overly ambitious.

Setting results-oriented goals (R): Make sure that there is a target – for example, the ‘reading skills’ goal mentioned above could also be tied to a wider resolution (something like ‘achieving an A* in English GCSE by broadening knowledge of literature generally.’).

Setting time-specific goals (T): Help your child or student to set an appropriate (and manageable) time-frame for their resolution, so that they feel motivated and full of purpose, i.e. ‘I will improve my reading skills by the end of term by reading one new extra-curricular book a month.’

Helping Children Stick to Their New Year’s Resolutions

Avoid negative language: Rather than encouraging your child or pupil to set goals based on things that didn’t go so well in 2018, focus on the positives. If they struggled with maths, for example, don’t approach the task of goal-setting by saying ‘I didn’t get good grades in maths last year, so this year I will study with a maths tutor for at least an hour per week.’

Instead, put a positive spin on the idea by phrasing the goal with upbeat language, i.e. ‘I am going to study with a maths tutor for at least an hour a week so that I achieve at least a B grade in my end-of-term mathematics test’; or, ‘I am going to study with a maths tutor for at least an hour a week so that I can join in more actively with class discussion.’ Visualising the outcomes of their hard work will enthuse your children or students and make them more likely to stick to their resolutions.

Give your children freedom: You may have quite strong ideas about where your child or pupil needs to focus their energies in order to improve – whether that’s scholastically, socially, or in terms of extra-curricular activities – but it’s important to let your children make the final decision as to what their resolutions should be. Feel free to make suggestions, but don’t put any pressure on them: if they don’t feel they have ownership over their goals, they’re less likely to work at them.

Join in: Make the exercise feel like a team effort – and increase motivation – by setting your own goals alongside. There are a variety of ways by which to do this; if we return to the ‘reading skills’ goal, for example, you could set aside dedicated reading time in which you and your child or student sit down together and read, or set yourself a similar goal (e.g. ‘I’d also like to broaden my knowledge of literature, so I’ll commit to reading at least one new book a month, too.’).

Never nag! One resolution all parents and teachers could probably set themselves is to avoid nagging, though it’s often very hard to stick to! Whilst it’s important to check in with your child or pupil regularly regarding their goals or resolutions, there’s a big difference between showing interest in their progress – and, if necessary, providing gentle reminders – and nagging them to try harder. You will know the kind of language that works best with the child in question, so do phrase your queries carefully and try to be as encouraging – and non-pressuring – as possible.

25 Ideas for New Years Resolutions for Students

As the New Year unfolds, it brings with it a wonderful opportunity for young minds to embark on a journey of growth and discovery. For children between the ages of 8 and 16, this phase of life is marked by a vibrant blend of academic exploration and personal development. From the classrooms to the playgrounds, these formative years lay the foundation for lifelong learning and well-roundedness. In this spirit, we’ve crafted a collection of 25 New Year’s resolutions tailored to inspire and guide youngsters on their path to becoming confident, compassionate, and curious individuals. These resolutions encompass various aspects of academic excellence, personal growth, future aspirations, and the nurturing of meaningful connections. 

  1. Consistent Homework Routine: Establish a regular schedule for completing homework to stay on top of assignments.
  2. Organised Study Space: Create a clutter-free and comfortable study area to enhance focus and productivity.
  3. Active Listening: Pay close attention during classes and take thorough notes to better understand the material.
  4. Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions when something isn’t clear – learning is all about curiosity.
  5. Read Regularly: Aim to read a variety of books for pleasure and to improve vocabulary and comprehension.
  6. Practice Maths: Dedicate time to practising maths problems to strengthen foundational skills.
  7. Explore Interests: Research and learn more about subjects that genuinely interest you beyond the classroom.
  8. Physical Activity: Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day for a healthy lifestyle, this could be a walk, run or sport.
  9. Limit Screen Time: Set reasonable limits on screen time for devices and encourage outdoor play.
  10. Journaling: Start a journal to jot down thoughts, experiences, your dreams and creative ideas.
  11. Random Acts of Kindness: Commit to performing one kind act each day, whether it’s helping a friend or family member.
  12. Mindful Moments: Practise short moments of mindfulness, like deep breathing, to reduce stress and increase focus.
  13. Creative Expression: Explore artistic activities like drawing, painting, or crafting to nurture creativity.
  14. Set a Personal Challenge: Choose a new skill or hobby to learn throughout the year, like playing an instrument or cooking.
  15. Social Connections: Make an effort to maintain friendships and make new ones through shared interests.
  16. Dream Exploration: Spend time thinking about future careers and interests to help set long-term goals.
  17. Research Careers: Learn about different professions through books, online resources, and conversations with adults.
  18. Saving Money: Begin learning about money management by setting up a small savings goal using pocket money.
  19. Technology Literacy: Improve computer and digital skills through online tutorials and creative projects.
  20. Public Speaking: Work on improving communication skills by participating in school presentations or clubs.
  21. Volunteering: Get involved in community service activities to give back and develop a sense of empathy.
  22. Try a New Hobby: Explore new hobbies or sports to discover talents and passions.
  23. Explore Science: Conduct simple experiments at home to foster curiosity and interest in science.
  24. Family Time: Spend quality time with family members, engaging in activities that promote bonding.
  25. Practice Gratitude: Each day, reflect on something you’re grateful for to cultivate a positive outlook on life.

To wrap things up, let’s put a bow on this whole New Year’s resolutions deal, especially when it comes to students. So, remember those SMART guidelines? Yeah, they’re not just for grown-ups. Get specific about what you want to achieve, make it measurable so you can track your progress, keep it doable but still a bit of a challenge.

Your goals are your call. Sure, your parents and teachers might give you some pointers, but the ball’s in your court. It’s like picking your favourite flavour of ice cream – you know what works for you

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