Inside: Help your kids learn how to set goals in a manageable and fun way with these free printable punch/sticker cards.
New Year’s Day is sneaking up on us again.
With this time of year, it’s almost inevitable that goal setting comes up in conversation.
I’ve always been someone who’s been a
huge bit of an overachiever, but I never actually sat down, set goals and wrote them on paper until a few years ago.
I didn’t want to be one of “those people” who wrote down their goals, got all jazzed up about them for a month and then fell off the wagon never to glance at them again.
Buuuuut, I was pleasingly surprised that when I took the time to set New Year’s resolutions I became much more focused on accomplishing those goals. In fact, I accomplished almost all the goals I set.
With my new found belief in setting goals anchored, I decided I was going to help my 5-year-old set his very first goal this next year. Since I haven’t done this before I spent some time thinking about how I can help him understand the basics of setting goals and working to achieve them. Hopefully, these tips can help you teach your child as well.
Goal Setting For Kids
- Define A Goal: Please for the love of all that is good, do not break out the dictionary and read the definition of a goal verbatim to your kids! Yes, it’s a great way for you to get a firm grasp on what a goal is, but I swear there is no quicker way to lose your child’s interest. When I hear someone start a talk or discussion with a definition my eyes instantly glaze over and I let the day dreaming commence.
- What You Should Say Instead: Well, I can’t tell you exactly because it will vary depending on their age, but I like asking questions first to see how much they already know. So maybe say something like the following:
Mom: We’re going to talk a little bit about setting goals for the New Year. Do you know what goals are?
Mom: Goals are like a plan we make for ourselves to help us grow and make ourselves better.
Then, you can relate goals to something most kids will be familiar with, like sports. You can talk about how in football the players all are trying to make a touchdown. Successful athletes won’t just go out on the field and hope to score a goal without a strategy. Just like athletes talk with their teammates, practice and develop a plan, we can each do the same with our lives. You can make the talk really simple for young kids or dig deeper into the analogy with older kids.
Talk About Your Resolutions
Kids really do learn so much more by example, so harness this power and talk about your own goals. You can discuss your past goals and how you’ve worked to achieve them or you can talk about the goals that you are going to set for the new year. Help them get lots of different ideas of what kinds of goals they can set. Having older siblings talk about their goals can also be helpful.
Brainstorm Ideas For Their Goal
After talking about all the different goals you and others in your family have, try asking them again if they have any ideas about goals they want to set. Although as parents we probably have a mountain of things we wish they would work on, it’s best if we let them decide exactly how they want to better themselves. There’s no use in making goal setting an activity that your kids cringe when they hear you talk about.
Keep it fun, upbeat and positive. If your kiddo is stuck on what they can do then feel free to make useful suggestions of things they can work on.
Narrow Down The Goal(s)
Now that you have a list of all the things that your child wants to work on, have them go through the list and pick the top few goals they want to set as their resolutions. You don’t want to overwhelm your kid with a million different goals, just to have them realize it’s way too difficult to keep all of them at once. The younger the child is, the fewer the number of goals you will want to focus on.
Create An Action Plan
With your new goal in mind, you are ready to help your child create a plan on how exactly they will reach their resolution. For young children, it will be something very simple. Let’s take an example to illustrate. Say your child’s goal is to keep his room clean. Then his action plan will be to put away all his toys and clothes as soon as he is done with them. Done. Keep it simple.
Talk About The Rewards
Let’s face it, we all love rewards. Nothing keeps us going strong on our new resolutions then small wins. Consistent, small victories help us keep the stamina we need to achieve long, difficult goals. So, how can you provide quick wins for your kiddo? The answer is a punch (or sticker) card system. Whoever came up with this idea really is a genius in my eyes. Who would have thought that a special shaped hole punch or a shiny sticker would help a child feel so accomplished and proud? Certainly not me!
So, how can you provide quick wins for your kiddo? The answer is a punch (or sticker) card system. Whoever came up with this idea really is a genius in my eyes. Who would have thought that a special shaped hole punch or a shiny sticker would help a child feel so accomplished and proud? Certainly not me!
I’ve already created a card just for you to help your child document their wins in a fun, visual way. Each day you can do a short review with your child and see if he accomplished his step to take him towards his ultimate resolution. If he did, great; he gets a punch on that day’s spot. Get a punch each day and on the 7th day he gets an extra special prize. The great thing is that you can determine how big or small that prize is so you can keep your child engaged day after day, week after week!
If he did, great; he gets a punch on that day’s spot. Get a punch each day and on the 7th day he gets an extra special prize. The great thing is that you can determine how big or small that prize is so you can keep your child engaged day after day, week after week!
The Quick Cheatsheet On Goal Setting For Kids
- Generate ideas by sharing your own goals
- Brainstorm your child’s goals
- Pick 1-2 goals to focus on
- Create an action plan that helps them take steps to accomplish their goal(s).
- Reward your child with a sticker or punch card
**Side Note: Because of the size of these cards, if you want to punch them you will need to have a deep reaching hole puncher like this one (affiliate link) or you can simply use stickers.