Now that the magic of Christmas is complete, there’s a new year to look forward to.

It’s a new beginning. We can all wipe the slate clean and start over.

Your children can be part of that optimistic time of year when we swear off the chocolate, vow to drink more water and sign up for the gym in droves.

And, while as adults, we saddle ourselves with major pressure, the goals you and your child can set are much more manageable.

The goals for your child are totally attainable. For example, this is the part where you grab your child, curl up on the couch with this column and have them repeat after you:

1. I will clean up my toys;

2. I will brush my teeth at least twice a day;

3. I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating; and

4. I will share with my sisters, brothers, and friends.

If your child is of a more mature age, say 5-12 years old, then that requires a whole new set of sophisticated resolutions.

1. I will make my bed every morning;

2. I will eat healthier snacks, like milk and fruits;

3. I will finish my homework before I go out to play;

4. I will wear a seat belt whenever I ride in a car;

5. I will be nice to other children;

6. I will find an exercise or sport that makes me happy.

And, then we have our teens.

1. I will not roll my eyes at or talk back to mom or dad;

2. I will be more positive about accomplishing goals I set out for myself;

3. I will hang out with friends who bring me up, not drag me down;

4. I will talk with mom and dad about everything … yes everything; and

5. I will eat junk food in moderation and eat more fruits and veggies.

As you might have guessed, this column would not be complete without a set of goals and resolutions for you, parents.

1. I will spend more time talking with and listening to my child;

2. I will handle stress better by not screaming at my child;

3. I will walk away when I feel like I’m going to lose it;

4. I will remain alert to things my child may not be telling me;

5. I will allow my child to make positive choices, even if I don’t agree with them;

6. I will be an active part of their lives; and

7. I will say “I love you” to my children every day, no matter what ... and I will show them by giving them a hug, at least once a day.

We wish you the very best in 2014, filled with love, happiness and health.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital, and Keith Bly is an associate professor of pediatrics and director of the UTMB Pediatric Urgent Care Clinics. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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