In my last post, I talked about New Year's Resolutions and you may be thinking that setting goals and making plans for the upcoming year is something that only adults need to do. After all, children don't yet have a career to think about or an extra 20 pounds to lose. However, teaching children at a young age to begin setting goals and to begin challenging themselves to live their personal best helps prepare them to live more intentionally as adults. It teaches them early on that they have choices and control over their lives and what happens to them. It helps them develop a sense of who they are and increases their sense of responsibility and self esteem.
How do you go about talking with a young child about setting goals? First talk with them about what they wish for in the upcoming year. Most young child especially like the idea of three wishes and you might ask them to identify a wish for themselves, a wish for the family and a wish the world. You may need to help the child take a fantasy type wish and see how you can make it a practical down-to-earth type of a wish. You may be surprised at how altruistic and unselfish children can be when they wish things for others. For instance if they wish that everyone in the family would be happy or that they would not fight, you might explore how could we encourage this? A weekly family game night? A weekly family meeting to discuss problems?The wishes become a goal and from the goal you develop a plan. Once you develop a plan be sure to write it down. A poster board that your child can decorate and personalize then hang up as a reminder in their room is perfect. Keep the goals and plan simple and concrete so your child will understand them and be able to act on them easily. Try this and I bet you and your family will be well on your way to to an awesome year!