Just like us, kids have things they would love to accomplish. Sometimes, it may seem like all they like to do is play. But don’t be fooled, all that play triggers their imagination to “what if…” questions. You know questions like, “What if I made this?” “I wonder if I could do that.” Every year, most adults set in place their New Year resolutions. Why not use this time to share a lesson with our kids about goal setting and goal achievement. Teaching kids how to set goals and how to accomplish them helps build confidence.
Brainstorming is one way to get those minds actively thinking about what they want to do. Have your child or student sit down with a sheet of paper and pencil. Next, you want them to take a little time just thinking of things they could see themselves creating or doing. Sometimes just talking about things they enjoy is enough to activate the process. Some kids may find this process challenging if they are not practiced in free thinking. They may try too hard to think of something that makes sense or would be pleasing to the parent. The point of the brainstorming activity is to put together a list without limiting yourself. You want to lay all your options out there. Encourage kids to write it down anyway, even if it seems impossible. It may seem impossible in your head, but write it down anyway. Ideas you get from brainstorming are triggers that inspire other ideas.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO UNTIL YOU MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO DO IT.
On the other hand, some kids need no prompting. They know exactly what they want to do. You may be used to this inspired child and have practiced settling them down. This is not the time for that. The only settling during brainstorming is to be certain to have them write the ideas down on the paper.
The interview technique is another way to help kids articulate their goals and talk through their list. This can also be helpful for adults. As parents we can help with this process by writing out some questions that will help guide our kids in discussion. You can even make it fun by having them dress up, stage the set, and pull out the camera. Do what works for you and your child as long as it’s not a stressful event. Your child may also need your guidance and help if they aren’t able to articulate their goals well.
No matter which type of child you have or which method you choose, encourage your child to compile a list that focuses on what they want to accomplish for themselves. The two methods could be used together to engage your child in conversation. Keep the list, and check in at least weekly. Best practice suggests encouraging your child to post the list and look at it every day.
For your child to have success with their goals, they need your help. Depending on their age, they may need a lot of help. Be patient with the process especially if this is something new to you and your child. Remember, having them make goals is not to set them up for failure. Also, communicate that there is no shame if they don’t meet all their goals. It’s about teaching them by working with them how goals are achieved, by putting in the time! That’s why it’s important for you to guide them through the process from beginning to end. You know what is feasible and what resources you have available to meet what they would need. Arrange a time periodically to meet with your child, and check on their progress. Sometimes you may have to spend some time working with them on the project. By doing this, you teach them that putting the time in on their goals is part of the process to accomplish them.
The reward is a confident child who believes that he/she has the ability to accomplish something. They will be more ready to accomplish other goals in their life as well. They will know firsthand the process it took to accomplish their goal. That will be useful information for them in years to come. Engaging in this type of activity builds the character muscle, and nurtures a sense of well-being for both the parent and child.
This New Year why not teach your child to create, work with them to accomplish, and enjoy the reward of confidence. Our kids are watching us and modeling our techniques. Join us as we continue to empower our kids to be the captains we know they are!