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assigning choresWell, another year has gone by and a new one begins. Doesn’t time fly?

The beginning of the New Year is a time for us to review what we’ve learned in the past year and make plans for what we would like to achieve in the upcoming year.  When planning the new year, it’s a good idea to set a few realistic resolutions and goals.  If you are feeling extra ambitious, consider setting a goal for each month in the new year.

Here are a few suggestions to get your ideas flowing.

Try a New Food

This goal is challenging – it’s still a challenge for me.  However, I attempt to try one new food a year. Last year my goal was to try pizza and I really love it.  I now eat it once a week! I don’t advise trying to force your child to eat a new food.  If you try this, they certainly will not go for it. Explain the why’s behind trying this new food.  For example, “It’s social, you can get anywhere in the world, you can get it at a restaurant..” Stating your case makes it easier!

Resources for picky eaters:

Visualize a Better Eater: A Fun Activity for Your Picky Eater by Jennifer M. Hatfield, MHS, CCC/SLP

Parenting a Picky Eater by Gwen Wild, OTR/L

Assign a New Household Chore

This goal is absolutely age dependent.  If they are of preschool age, encourage them to put away their toys. If they are primary school age, teach them how to set the table, make their beds, sort laundry, anything! When the child takes on their new role, be sure to give lots of praise! It makes everybody happier.  I recall learning how to do laundry when I was back in high school.   It was rewarding for me to know that I could contribute to the home and I learned another life skill.

Resources for structure and motivation:

Just Do It! Build Community Integration Skills by Laura Cavanagh, M.A., OACCPP

Change is Good! Token Economy Systems Bring Positive Rewards by Joanna Keating-Velasco

Independent Self-Hygiene

Depending on your child’s age, encourage them to brush their teeth or hair by themselves.  If they are older, teach them to shave.  As mentioned in the above article, “Change is Good!”, consider rewards like a token economy.

Resources to encourage independence:

Let’s Get Clean Routine by Joanna Keating-Velasco

Teaching Basic Life Skills by Gavin Bollard

Create a Goal Chart

Sit down with your child and create a goal chart together.  Even better, create a Vision Board as described in Vision Boards – Creative Goal Setting with Kids by Robin Schwoyer.

When all the goals are met, consider offering up a “grand prize” for the child to work toward such as dinner at a favorite restaurant, a long coveted toy, etc.