Making new years resolutions or goals can be a fun family activity that can be done anytime. After finishing up the new version of SupportPay I felt like I needed a reboot so here are my thoughts on goals. It can be a time of bonding with your children and an opportunity for growth and change. It is so important to talk through your children’s ideas, goals, hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Setting goals gives them an opportunity to achieve something and see what they have accomplished. Keep these things in mind when setting goals and with your children:
Be a Role Model
Make your own resolutions at the same time. Share your goals with your children and your excitement about how you might reach them. Often times a goal will require some sort of action plan. As you model that for your child, they will see how they can put into action things in their own life that will help meet their goals. With you as a model, they will be more likely to discuss their goals and plans with you. Working together to meet a goal is much more fun.
Keep it Positive
Working with your child to set goals can sometimes lead to you telling them what they need to do better. Try to steer clear of that. Let them be the guides in telling you what they would like to improve, what some new things are they might want to try, or what they want to do differently in the year ahead. Use some guiding questions maybe, but be careful to not let it feel like you are trying to make them better or change them. Point out some of their previous successes and see if that pushes them to want more. Reaching a goal means much more for them if it is their idea, rather then something you push for.
Make it Concrete
Help them narrow down their goals to be manageable and reachable. “I will behave better” is a vague, hard to measure goal. Guide that into a more definable goal such as, “I will clean my room once a week” or “I will do one nice thing for my sibling each day.” Make sure their goals are realistic and age appropriate. Their goals could be sentences, or even pictures with few words. Making it age appropriate will help them want to follow through.
Cheer Them On and Celebrate
One of the best things about setting a goal is attaining it! Be sure to encourage your child along the way of reaching their goal. Remind them about it, but don’t nag them. Remember, it is their goal and will be much more meaningful if they work at it on their own and feel like they did it, and were not forced into it. Celebrate their achievements! When they are working on their goal, cheer them on. Let them know you see how hard they are working. Tell them of their improvements. When the goal is met, have a celebration, and help them realize all of their hard work. Use that excitement and success to continue the goal setting process.