New Year Goals Are Important For Children Too!
There has been a lot of attention for goals and resolutions for adults, but don’t forget it is important for us to teach our children how to set goals and achieve them. This is a valuable skill which will help them success throughout life.
Why is it important to set goals?
Setting goals is an extremely important part of life, having a goal gives you something to focus on, it gives you something to work towards, and it gives you the opportunity to improve. Setting goals and going onto achieve them is a process which takes time and dedication.
Helping your children achieve this process will set them up for a life as without a focus and something to work towards they will find it difficult to know what direction they want their life to take and how to get there.
What age can we start setting goals?
Your children have been setting their own goals since they were babies, they just did not realise it. Learning to walk, to talk, to use the potty, to kick a ball, to write their name. They are all common childhood goals which most children will achieve fairly early on in their lives.
Other common early childhood goals can be –
- I will help mummy and/ or daddy clean my room
- I will brush my teeth every day
- I will wash my hands before eating/ after going to the toilet
- I will be kind and gentle
- I will use my voice instead of shouting/ lashing out
These are all easy and realistic goals for small children to achieve with adult support and guidance.
What goals should my children pick?
What goals your children will pick will depend on a lot of circumstances, not all children will suit the same goals. There is no point encouraging your child to reach a certain music grade if they have no interest in music or for your 4-year-old to master the 12 times tables when they have recently learnt to count to 10.
It is important to help your child pick realistic and age appropriate goals with realistic ‘deadlines’. Try to make the process as stress and pressure free as possible. Children should feel excited and hopeful, not stressed and anxious.
What if my child does not achieve their goal?
The most important lesson a child can learn that it is ok to fail, the failure itself is not what is important, it is what you do next.
If your child does not reach their goal? Oh well, not to worry. Reassure your child that it is ok, explore what happened, what could they do to improve?
Help your child to readjust their goal, did they need longer? Did they need to reorganise their time?
The most important thing is that your child feels able to keep going and does not want to just give up. However, if your child is adamant they want to give up, please do not force them. Give them time, let them know that if they did want to try again, they have your full support but there is no pressure either way.
Your child should feel supported and in control throughout this whole process.
My child does not want to set a goal
Once again, if your child does not want to do this themselves, that is fine. They may not want to set their own goals, but maybe they want to help you with yours. Try to keep the goals they help you set simple and child appropriate. They can help you with goals such as eating healthier, going for a run every morning, or saving a certain amount of money each month. Keep the more complex goals to yourself.
Your child may not want to be actively involved, again, this is fine. Keep them updated with your progress, do not force it but you can mention your goals and successes (or failures) over dinner or on the school run. Keep everything positive and pressure free.
Even if deep down you are very disappointed that you gained an extra pound or did not save as much as you wanted, keep the negative to yourself and let your child see the positives of failure. Be honest about your failure but share with them what you have learnt or what you plan to differently.