Setting Goals with Your Kids from the Organized Mom
Gather round the dinner table and make your New Year's Resolutions with your kids, says the Organized Mom, Lorraine Brock
Why is it that when the new year comes around, adults have plenty of New Year's goals but we often don't include the entire family? Maybe it's because we consider our kids goals as unimportant or worse, they don't have a vision for themselves. It's true in some cases that a child's goal can be totally off the mark of self help or betterment, like obtaining the next level in a video game or making a wish list of superficial items they want to gain the next year, but with some direction from parents kids can set goals at every level.
In our home, my husband and I have three teenage boys. Each year around New Year's, we whip out the pen and paper and set down together to discuss our goals. This could be done around the dinner table or by having a quiet moment around the fire.
In order to get our boys started we try to have three main categories for which to set goals; school, personal, and spiritual. This does not mean they can only have three goals; on the contrary they can have as many goals as they want. But we do ask them to make an effort in improving at least one thing in each of these categories.
For example, our youngest son last year listed the following as his goals:
· B+ or higher in Math
· Walk Strider (our dog) and play ball with him more
· Bond more with dad (Dad time)
· Being a more Godly and polite young man
While this seems like a pretty mature list of goals, it did not start out that way. If I recall leveling on a game or buying a new game topped the list at first. But with the direction of what goal setting really was about and the importance our family unit placed on it, the light began to immerge in that little brain.
Once we had our goals there needed to be some accountability throughout the year. I know it's hard for adults to stay focused, much less a child. So periodically throughout the year we bring the goals out to see the progress we had or had not made. I would suggest that you put on your calendar "check goals" about three times during the year. This will ensure you don't forget to have periodic goal checks.
You're probably wondering how many goals my three boys actually follow through on, well I will share. Our youngest met three of his four goals, our middle son meet all of his goals, and our oldest met half of one goal, out of four. Over all pretty great results, I'd say.
Just a note of advice that when reviewing the goals, just as with setting them up, you go over them as a family; it's accountability. Yes, you will probably have one that is a little slack in meeting some of their goals, but if done with love and much encouragement he or she will see the benefit and growth in their siblings and want to jump aboard.
As always goal setting is best done as a family, so that others around you can help you meet those goals. Not to mention written goals can be treasures now and for the future; allowing each family member a glimpse back in time.
Lastly, goal setting each year allows your child to see where they have been and are today, with the added bonus of seeing the process of getting there. They being to see over time that every decision they make needs to help them get closer to their goals. It teaches them to question why they are doing what they are doing.
For example if your child has a goal of wanting to work with animals, should they be volunteering in a junior officers program? If that's their only time to volunteer, I'd say the better choice would be to find a local veterinary clinic, city pound, zoo or other animal facility to volunteer at. Trying always to keep what you're doing in alignment with your goals.
So grab a cup of coffee for you and hot chocolate for the kids, and then spend some time helping each other set their goals. You will see over time that each person's goals normally become their passion and purpose.
Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of "Get Organized!" "Get Organized!" is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. "Get Organized!" specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management.
A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Dallas' two top morning television shows: Good Morning Texas and Good Day Fox, and has been featured on various radio outlets. She has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national print and online magazines, such as the Dallas Morning News, The North Texas Kids Magazine, SheKnows.com, and Daily Candy Kids. To get more helpful advice from Lorraine, visit her blog Get Organized!