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Helping your child write goals for the new year

Helping your child write goals for the new year

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - December 28th, 2023

As we ring in the new year, resolutions are a topic on everyone’s minds. While adults often focus on their personal goals, it’s also a fantastic time to introduce your young child to the concept of goal-setting. Research has shown that kids who learn to set, track and achieve goals at a young age tend to have higher self-confidence, more grit and become more resilient individuals.

Types of Goals

First, it’s crucial to understand the types of goals suitable for young children. They should be simple, achievable and engaging enough to keep your child interested. The SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) can be easily adapted for children and easily understood by young kids.

For example, if your child shows interest in reading, a goal could be: read two new storybooks every week for a month. If they love the outdoors, you could suggest: plant and take care of a vegetable in our backyard this season. Remember, the key is to align goals with their interests to inspire commitment.

Once you’ve helped them identify their goals, it’s time to discuss strategies to achieve them. Break down each goal into smaller, manageable tasks. For early readers, this might mean deciding which days they will dedicate to reading. For our junior gardener, it could be researching the best vegetable to grow during the current season and setting a planting date.

Tracking and Monitoring Progress of Goals

It’s important to discuss about tracking and monitoring progress with your kids. Children, like adults, are more likely to stay committed to their goals when they can see their progress. Here are a few fun and effective ways to track progress:

  1. Visual Progress Charts: Create a colorful chart or calendar where they can add stickers or draw a picture each time they accomplish a task towards their goal. This visual reminder of progress can be a great motivation.
  2. Goal Journals: Older children might enjoy keeping a journal where they can write about their experiences and successes while working towards their goal. This can also serve as a wonderful keepsake to look back on.
  3. Regular Check-Ins: Schedule family meetings or during meal times where everyone can share their progress. These check-ins will not only keep your child on track but will also instill a sense of accountability.

Celebrate Achievements of Goals

Lastly, it’s essential to celebrate achievements, however small. Did your child finish their first book of the month? Celebrate with a special bookmark. Did they successfully plant their vegetable? Make a special meal featuring their homegrown produce. Celebrations make children feel proud of their accomplishments and more likely to set and strive for new goals.

Remember, the aim here isn’t to foster a sense of pressure, but to help your child learn about dedication, persistence and the joy of personal achievement. There may be setbacks and that’s okay. Use those moments as teaching opportunities to show your child that everyone faces challenges and the key is to learn from them and keep going.

Helping your child set and achieve their goals is not only a powerful way to start the New Year but also an important life lesson in self-improvement. By guiding them through this process, you’re laying the foundation for a growth mindset, which will serve them well into adulthood. Here’s to a New Year filled with new learning, achievements, and plenty of proud moments!

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