Think about the past year and the goals you set for yourself. Did you start a new job or new career? Train for a race? Work hard to pay off your debt? Setting (and achieving) personal goals gives you a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. At the beginning of this new year, focus your efforts not just on personal goals but family goal setting as well.
When you work as family to achieve successes (big or small), you’re teaching your children how to set goals for themselves. Setting goals as a family will start to instill important values in young children, which will grow along with them. Along with learning about the determination and focus it takes to achieve a goal, children will also learn about working as a team to reach a common goal and will gain self-confidence after a job well done.
Teaching Children How To Set Goals
To be successful with your family goal setting, you need to do more than say “We want this!” When you’re teaching children how to set goals, take these steps to ensure you stay on track.
Set a Goal that’s Just Right
When choosing a goal, you want to make sure that you choose something that’s not too easy and not too hard. You want a “just right” goal. It should be something that takes a little bit of effort and may seem a bit out of reach. (At first!)
Write it Down and Make a Plan
Write down your family’s goals and display them to help keep you motivated. To help your goal seem manageable, break it down into smaller steps; for example, what you can accomplish in the first month, in the first three months, or by mid-year.
Track Your Progress
Sticker charts aren’t just for potty training and chores! Create a chart to track progress on each individual accomplishment, as well as your overall goal. This visual reminder will keep you working at it throughout the year.
Ideas for Family Goal Setting
If you need some inspiration on goals you can achieve this year, here are a few family-friendly ideas to get you started.
Family Date Nights
Spending quality time together is a great goal for every family, so make it a “date.” As a family goal, commit to 17 date nights (or day dates) in the new year. These can include anything from a movie night or game night at home, a family dinner out, or playing together at the park.
Device Free Dinner
Being connected at all times can often get in the way of face-to face-conversation. Set a family goal to put down the devices when you come together at the dinner table. Join the Device Free Dinner Challenge and make it a point to spend 30 minutes each evening off-line and opt for family conversation instead. Reward yourself for every week and every month you meet your goal.
Family Book Club
Reading to your children offers many benefits. To ensure that you make time for reading together every day, create a family book club. Choose a new book every month that you can read together. At the end of each book, celebrate with a treat or activity inspired by the story you read. Aim to finish 12 books in the new year!
Explore Where You Live
Is your family a creature of habit? If you find yourself visiting the same parks, community events, or local attractions over and over again, it’s time to explore something new. As a family, identify four “new-to-you” places, near where you live, that you’ll visit in the upcoming year. Decide on one new attraction for each season; for example, a fun place to go sledding in the winter, a spring music festival, a hiking trail to explore in the summer, and an activity-packed fall pumpkin patch.
For more parenting tips and family activities, follow along with our Resources pages all year long.