The clock strikes 12 and we all shout out a big cheery ‘Happy New Year’. Well, actually, if you were a fly on the wall at my house I was sound asleep with a snoring husband beside me. That is what our New Year celebrations are like now that we have Possum. Quietly though, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
A new year also sparks a new start and everyone starts making new years resolutions.
It got me thinking about goal setting, which I would constantly do with children in the classroom. Having a goal to work towards gives great direction and focus. It’s amazing how much more you
(or your child) can achieve when a realistic goal is put into place.
Let’s talk about setting goals with children.
I believe goal setting can be done for children of all ages, provided that you follow a few rules.
- Goals need to be realistic to the individual child. There is no point creating goals if they are beyond the capability of your child so keep them realistic and don’t use other children as a guide to what your child should be doing.
- Children need to be able to experience success in achieving their set goal. I’d recommend that for toddlers you give them a timeframe of 2 days to achieve their goal. For preschoolers you might start at 2 days and build to a week. No more or the goal is at risk of loosing it’s momentum.
- Involve your child in goal setting if their age allows. In my experience as a teacher I find a child would be much more likely to achieve their goal if they helped to create it. I think that goes with human nature really.
- Be a good role model. Children are so impressionable and they watch you even when you don’t think they are. If they see you setting and working towards personal goals they are likely to do the same. Your goal might be as simple as remembering to put the bins out.
Now about rewards. It is SO IMPORTANT not to suggest or agree to any reward that is outrageously generous. Keep it simple and realistic. Discuss what a good reward would be with your child. You’ll probably find they come up with some good suggestions.
I have drawn a very basic framework for keeping kids motivated and striving for their goals.
You could do this on the computer but I don’t think kids are that fussy myself.
The above picture is for a child who has a goal to use the potty.
Simply draw a picture of an ice-cream and each time they use the potty they colour a section of the
ice-cream. It’s simple and achievable and will have them feeling success (hopefully) quickly.
Now my 1 year old clearly is not able to write her name, however, this is an example of how you can encourage your child to write their name. They simply colour in a balloon each time they do it correctly. I suggest they have a go each day rather than consecutively.
Of course this strategy can also be used for ‘I can count to 10’ etc
I would always have parents of school aged children complaining they don’t eat their dinner.
I would suggest this and have them draw a picture of their nightly meal or place a sticker next to the day they completed their meal.
Well I hope I have helped you consider goal setting and how positive it can be for children.
Any questions please feel free to email me, otherwise I’d love to read your comments below.