Around 4,000 years ago, Babylonians rang in their new year with an 11-day festival in March.

The origin of making New Year’s resolutions is credited to the Babylonians who made promises to the gods in hopes of good crops and good fortune in the year to come. They often resolved to get out of debt.

In 46 BC, Roman Emperor Julius Caesar moved the first day of the year to Jan. 1, and while not making promises to gods, people use this tradition to have a fresh start.

Common to all ages, healthy resolutions include getting more sleep, exercise, healthy food and less screen time. For resolutions to have a chance of being obtained they should be achievable, be shared and be age appropriate.

For small children, one or two of the following might be chosen:

1. I will brush my teeth at least twice a day.

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

3. I will share my toys.

4. I will limit total screen time (TV, phone, iPad, computers and tablets) to the recommended two hours.

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

1. I will wear my mask.

2. I will eat healthier snacks.

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

4. I will be nice to other children.

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

And, then we have our teens.

1. I will not talk back to adults.

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.

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

And, some resolutions for 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 limit screen time.

4. I will remain alert to things my child may not tell 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.

7. I will teach my children to recycle plastic, aluminum, paper.

8. 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.

9. And for this year, I will follow and teach guidelines as recommended such as wearing masks and getting my vaccine.

Wishing you the very best in 2021, so it’s filled with love, happiness and health. Everyone wants a better year, and working together, we can make it happen.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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