Helping your child learn to set goals can improve self-esteem, teaches them the value of perseverance, and will help them develop habits they’ll be able to use for a lifetime. The start of a new year is the perfect time to sit down with your child and make a list of goals they’d like to accomplish. Setting goals as a family is also a fun way for everyone to work together and support each other!
How to Set Goals with Your Child
1. Sit down with your child and have him or her help you create a list of goals for the year, or maybe for just the first few months if he or she is younger. The list doesn’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) be very long. Think of 2 – 5 attainable milestones that your kid is excited about reaching.
2. Break each goal into manageable steps.
3. Set a timeline and make a plan for how your child can accomplish each small step toward the goal, as well as one for reaching the end of the goal.
4. Create a rewards system. Small prizes can be given for each step accomplished, with a bigger reward when the entire goal is reached. Rewards don’t have to be big or expensive. Stickers work well for smaller steps. The end reward could be anything from a new toy to being able to stay up an hour past bedtime! For more reward ideas, check out VeryWellFamily.com.
5. Set an example by sharing your own goals with your child and letting them see your progress. When the family works on goals together, everyone feels supported! Consider creating a family goal chart where everyone gets stickers or stars as progress is made. Talk about your goals and what milestones you’ve reached every so often, like once a week at the dinner table. Think of a special family reward if everyone reaches their individual goals by the end date!
Tips for Success
Be flexible. There may be times your child won’t be able to accomplish their goal. Outside circumstances could get in the way, or perhaps your child just wasn’t physically or emotionally able to reach the goal. That’s ok! This is a great way to help your child reevaluate what worked and what didn’t with their plan. Don’t be afraid to help your child revise their goal or create a new one if the old one isn’t working.
Provide lots of positive reinforcement! Give your child lots of praise along the way, whether the actual goal was accomplished or not.
For some awesome, age-appropriate goals for kids, visit HealthyChildren.org.
For ideas that inspire family goal-setting, helpful tips for parents to encourage their kids, and goal-setting activities for kids and for the entire family, visit BigLifeJournal.com.