One annual tradition in families around the world is to set goals, or resolutions, on New Year’s Eve. If you and your family celebrate this tradition, it presents a great opportunity to start a conversation with your child about how to set goals that might help them to achieve their personal objectives.
Goal setting is really a very complex endeavor and one that needs to be scaled down to an appropriate level for a child. Most children, even those that have recently started going to school, can grasp the concept of having a goal. Developing a plan to achieve that goal, however may require some assistance, especially when they want to focus in on one specific thing.
Talking About Goals
A great way to help children to learn about goal setting is for parents, grandparents, and other family members to talk about their own goals. This can be done in fun ways such as drawing your goals in a picture or writing a story about your goals and why they are important to you.
It’s important to choose concrete, measurable goals so that children understand that these are not just wishes or dreams, they are attainable changes that they can control. Wishes and dreams are important too, but they are different than goals.
Making Family Goals Together
Parents and other family members that interact with your child can all come together to make a group goal. Group goals for families are a real bonding experience and can highlight how a family works to support each other throughout the year.
Often, a family’s New Year’s goals focus on helping each other, spending more time together, or perhaps everyone agreeing to help out at a local charity or community organization.
The key is for parents to model goal setting in their own lives and talk to their children about how goals help to provide measurable milestones and accomplishments in life. Children should be encouraged to set goals that are meaningful to them and not necessarily the same goals that the parents may have for the child.
A great exercise is to have each family member share their goals for the year while the other family members offer ways that they can help the person to achieve his/her goal. This is a positive exercise that encourages relationship building. It’s a great way to start off a new year in any household!