Whenever a New Year begins, a lot of people make a “resolution,” or promise, to become a better person. New year, new person. Some people decide they’re going to stop eating so many cookies so they can lose weight. Some promise to exercise more, or clean their room every day, or stop saying bad words. But it’s hard to change yourself. You need to get into the habit of doing the new good thing. In fact, scientists have found that it takes the average person 66 days to get into a good habit! The good news is, some people in the study took only 18 days to get into the new habit. Let’s all try it: Figure out what good habit you’d like to start, and see how many days you can stay with it!
Wee ones: Look at your room. See if you can count 5 things that are on the floor but shouldn’t be…or maybe you’ll find fewer than 5!
Little kids: If you have 17 things on your bedroom floor and your friend has 22, who has the messier floor? Bonus: If you start cleaning your room every other day — Monday, then Wednesday, then Friday…on what day will you clean next?
Big kids: If you eat a green veggie every day from Jan. 1 through February 28, will you hit the 66-day mark? (Hint if needed: January has 31 days, and February (usually) has 28.) Bonus: If you also last all through March, by how many days will you pass your 66-day mark? (Hint again: March has 31 days.)
Wee ones: Items might include socks, toys, stuffed animals, or books.
Little kids: Your friend has more mess. Bonus: On Sunday.
Big kids: Not quite: you’ll reach 59 days, which is 7 days short. Bonus: By 24 days, since you’ll reach 90 days.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.