This time of year, everyone’s running off to make New Year’s Resolutions. This makes it a great time to teach your children about setting goals, and can be done in a few segments.
Enhance your child’s vocabulary by talking about the meaning of resolution. Discuss what it means to resolve to do something and how you set goals. This is a great opportunity to express that not all goals are reached, but that if we work hard and try, we make huge steps.
GOALS FOR CHILDREN SHOULD BE SMALL AND REACHABLE
There’s nothing more discouraging than setting a goal and not reaching it, especially for a child. Therefore, lead your child to set one or two reachable goals for the new year, long before encouraging long-term goals. Goals such as “I will clean my room each night” and “I will read for 15 minutes after breakfast” are easy to reach, and children will be encouraged with accomplishment. A longer-term goal such as “I will put a penny in my jar every day for a year” is another goal that can be celebrated with each clink of the penny. More suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions for kids can be found at the eHealth Connection.
CELEBRATE SMALL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Reward children with praise every time they accomplish a goal. It helps to keep a reward chart, showing that the child accomplished his or her goal with a simple star for each accomplishment. Always tell your child how proud you are of him for trying, even when he doesn’t reach the goal.
BE A ROLE MODEL
It’s always important to be a role model for your kids. Sit down together and brainstorm a few goals for yourself out loud, talking about it with your child. Then help your child to brainstorm as well. When your child sees that you’re serious about setting a goal for yourself, he’s more likely to set one for himself.
WRITE DOWN A GOAL AND POST IT
Nothing makes a goal more real than putting it in writing, so have your child write down his goal and keep it posted as a reminder. ABC Teach offers a simple Goal Setting worksheet.
This can also be made into an art activity as your child can decorate his goal on a piece of pottery, or create a masterpiece about the goal and frame it. Working together and creating something helps your child to invest time and more thought in the goal, helping him to focus more. Additionally, making a goal public by keeping it in a public place makes one more likely to achieve it.
We’d love to hear what goals your child came up with this year. Share them!
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