Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Helping Kids Make (and Keep) New Year's Goals

This time of year everyone is thinking about the New Year!  New beginnings and a chance to start new with goals and aspirations.  I love hearing about other people's New Year's resolutions and reflecting upon my own.  In our house we like to focus on goals for the new year instead of resolutions and I love involving my kids in the conversation, too.  My kids are old enough to get it and I am all about helping them set goals for themselves.  As a mom, I want to do my very best to help them keep up their hard work to actually achieve their goals!

I came up with 5 easy steps to use to help kids make and keep their New Year's goals for this year.  

1.  Help them to make attainable goals. 
Sure some kids might say it is their goal to make $1 Million dollars this year, but in most circumstances that isn't really attainable.  Our job, as parents, is to help them come up with a goal that is actually something you think they will be able to achieve.  

2.  Discuss specific ways to help them work towards their goals. 
Don't just have them set goals and then go on your way.  Discuss ways that they can work hard to reach their goals.  If they want to get a 100% on every spelling test, talk about ways you help them study more each week and take more practice tests.  Maybe they want to make a difference in their community. Talk about ways they can help other kids in their school or make cards and deliver goodies for firefighters and police officers to say thanks.  Whatever their goal may be, talk about the exact things the can do to meet their goals.  

3.  Have a weekly or monthly check-in to stay on track. 
A year seems like a long period of time to us as adults, so can you image how long that seems to a kid? I think we are better off making monthly goals or at least having weekly or monthly check-ins to discuss their progress.  Put a note on your calendar for a month from now so you won't forget to bring up the goals in conversation again.  

4.  Reevaluate or change steps to achieve their goals. 
If things aren't going quite as planned, that's OK!  Together you can reevaluate the goals or even change them up a bit.  It's all about working hard for something they really want to do and if you see that the steps you are helping them take are not working for them, change the goal a bit or alter the steps they are taking to get there to something that will work for them! 

5.  Be their biggest cheerleader. 
This world can be a tough place, but you are here to be a bright spot for your child.  Be their biggest cheerleader. Encourage them, push them, challenge them, and motivate them.  Do whatever you have to do to help them be successful so that they feel that sense of accomplishment and pride when they do achieve the goal they've been working for.  

I started off by talking to my kids about the New Year and sharing with them my own goals.  Then I asked each of them to pick a goal for themselves they would like to work on.  We did this last year and I can't remember what any of them said except for Blondie.  She told me her goal for 2015 was to not wear bows anymore.  It made me so sad and I told her she had to pick another one, but you know what???  She achieved it!
Bow :-)
No Bow :-(
With a bit of compromise we settled on something that would work for both of us.  I stopped forcing her to wear the bows I loved, but she hated.  It was a turning point for sure, but she's happier with the way she looks and I'm happier to see her becoming an individual and speaking up for the things she likes and dislikes.  

As for this year, these are their goals: 

Little Mama - I wasn't surprised when she told me her goal was to get her back handspring.  She's been working so hard in her tumbling classes and has really progressed a lot.  She has pretty much decided that she is going to focus on tumbling and cheerleading this next year and a back handspring is a major goal of hers.  I think this really is something she can achieve, but it will take a lot of work.  As for specific steps, she's going to stretch more each day, work on her arm strength by doing push-ups and conditioning at home and she has decided to take a second tumbling class each week instead of doing another sport because this is something that she really wants.

Blondie - Her goal is to try out for an academy soccer team this spring.  She loves soccer and really wants to do more of it.  Being on an academy team would allow her to get more coaching, more practicing and more skills. She's a good soccer player, but I know this would help her to become a great soccer player.  For specifics she said she would practice her dribbling and ball handling skills more on her own at home, pay extra careful attention at her practices this spring, and give her practices and games 110% so she can develop some of the skills she will need to try out.

Boo-Boo - Now he's the youngest of the bunch so I know that for him the concept is a little harder to grasp, but he loved talking about it and told me his goal for this year was to make new friends. I just loved that!  He has a lot of friends from school and friends that are siblings of the girls' friends.  I think he means being able to have more friends over to play at our house (which is something we don't do often enough for's aways the girls' friends who are coming over for playdates).  To help him achieve his goal I will schedule more playdates with his friends, helping to grown their friendships and double their playtime!

I am excited to go through this year and to check in each month with them to help all three of them to stay on track and really reach their personal goals!
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  1. I had to laugh about Harper's no more bows resolution. She and my Kate sound so much alike. I'm like you I love a bow! She is winning the battle more and more though. I am thankful Cohen still doesn't put up the fuss!

    1. So funny! She gets so upset that I have decided it is just not worth it. She thinks she is 6 going on 16.


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