The start of a new year is just around the corner! A new year is the promise of a fresh start, a new beginning, the sweet reminder of the passing of time, and another year of life. Kids are getting older, new memories are being made, and it’s time for a new milestone: 2023. The new year is a great time to sit down as a family and talk about goals. Keep reading to hear our recommendations for talking to your kiddos about goal setting!

Goals help us to look back to see where we’ve come from and look ahead to see where we’re going. In fact, it’s kind of like sailing a ship. We can use the stars to navigate where we want to go. If we find that we’re off course, we need to readjust. In order to find out how we need to adjust, we first need to know where we want to go.

Where Do I Want to Go?

We ask kids all the time what they want to be when they grow up. As kids play pretend, they often envision themselves in the adult world, pretending they are in occupations such as doctors, firefighters, police officers, ballerinas, teachers, etc. This imaginative play is vital to what goal setting might look like for our little ones. Allowing themselves to envision different futures and possibilities for themselves is a key part of goal setting. Questions we can ask our kids as we set goals with them can look like, “How do you like to use your imagination?”, “What are activities you enjoy doing?”, or “What makes you smile?” Even if their answers are silly, it will get them to think more deeply. Watching our little ones grow into their personalities is a beautiful thing, and in assessing where they want to go, we can help them set some small goals to get there.

Who Am I Becoming?

Once we look at where we want to go, we need to ask ourselves what kind of person we will become in getting there. This has to do more with a day-to-day lifestyle. After all, our moments make up our days, and our days make up our life. If your child wants to do soccer, karate, basketball, and baseball, putting him in all of those activities might not be the best for his long-term trajectory. Saying ‘yes’ to activities might mean saying ‘no’ to other things, such as family time, home-cooked meals, and even sleep. The activities you choose, the schedule you keep, and the habits you encourage all add to the development and growth of your child, and ultimately who they are becoming.

What Steps Can I Take to Get There?

Now that we know where we want to go and who we want to become, we need to take some practical steps to get there. As we mentioned before, our moments make up our life. If that’s the case, our moments matter a lot! Setting up small habits and routines to help us reach our goals is a great way to teach kids to achieve what they set their minds to. For example, if your daughter is in gymnastics or ballet and wants to get her splits, she will need to begin stretching every day for a few minutes. In order to do this, she will need to set aside time every day to make sure she reaches her goal. Some practical ways to help your child with a goal like this is to help them see what a small step every day could look like. Print out a calendar, and add a sticker on every day that she stretches for 5 minutes or more. Put a piece of candy into a jar day that she takes a step towards her goal. There are many creative ways to help your child see that their daily habits can make a big difference. A big goal that seems impossible at first can be broken down into small, doable steps.

We hope that you’re able to sit down as a family and set some fun goals for this new year! Teaching your child to set some small, reachable goals will help them to set bigger ones as they get older, and even as they become adults. Creating habits and consistency goes a long way, and having goals can be a great way to show this to our kids. We wish you a very happy New Year! We’ll see you in 2023!