Posted on January 13 2022
With some assistance from you, perseverance and specific goal setting, your child can master life skills like reading books on her own.
Help your child make this year a meaningful one by setting goals, to accomplish and build skills that she can use throughout her life. Follow this step by step guide to help your little one achieve that big goal.
1. Starting Out
One goal your child might have this year is to learn how to use her scooter independently.
First, discuss with your preschooler or older toddler the benefits of goal setting. Use examples of how she has already incorporated goals setting and achieving in her daily life. Share how goals can help her achieve important things, and find out what she would like to achieve. She has to want to own and be responsible for the process. Perhaps your child is unsure about what she wants to achieve. Encourage and suggest ideas by asking open-ended questions.
Start by identifying and acknowledging what she can already do very well, such as running very fast, identifying alphabets or being able to read. Next, let her choose a goal to work on or learn, such as an interest or a life skill like counting to 100, reading a book or tying her shoelaces.
Benefits of Goal Setting
Some benefits include creating a life of intention, while learning how to achieve big dreams over the course of manageable steps. Your child gets a vision of what to work towards and gives her focus. Additionally, she learns self-accountability and self-motivation.
2. Make the Goals Definite With a Short Timeframe
For goals like tying shoelaces, your child should have a set timeframe such as a few days or a week to practice and master this skill.
Next, set identifiable and achievable goals within a certain timeframe. Examples might include wanting to save up to buy a toy by the end of next week, or learning to slip on a T-shirt in three days. It should be something your child has a great deal of control over. When setting a timeframe, make it short-term if possible as younger children have a difficult time thinking long-term. Hence, they may easily lose interest. For toddlers, try one to two-day goals, and preschoolers two to three-day goals, up to a week.
3. Break Down the Steps
Once you’ve decided on the goal and timeframe, the next step is to break it down into smaller steps. Hence, your child should be able to follow this on a daily or weekly basis. Discuss with your child the steps she’ll need to take and achieve to reach her final goal. Some questions include how you can help your child and what rewards she can get when she reaches her smaller goals. Define these goals by asking who, what and when, e.g., who can help her with her goals, what she needs to do and when she needs to practice this skill.
4. Create a Visual Chart
Your child’s goals and steps should be visualised into a chart which she can decorate as much as she wants, and placed near her goal area, if possible.
Make this into a visual chart so she can see all the steps and smaller goals. Let her decorate the chart as much as she wants to promote ownership over the process, and then observe and mark her progress along the way. If your child isn’t reading well yet, try visual options like sticker charts, pictures, images of ladders or marble jars. Place these close to your child’s goal area, and write down the goal on the chart or jar. An example could be “I can brush my teeth on my own”.
5. Model, Model, Model
Set your own goals, and share them with your child, and present your own chart or jar. While you’re working on them, use positive words such as how close you’re both getting to your goals, or how hard you’re both working to achieve them.
6. Encourage, Acknowledge and Reward
As your child starts working on her goals, she may face some setbacks. Consider reviewing the goal, and assessing if it was too vague or ambitious. Next, ask her for suggestions, as she’s likely to follow through on her own ideas. Other ways to help include sharing your own struggles with her, and praise her for her efforts. Celebrate her efforts and reward her when she reaches her goals. Mark off each step so your child can see how far she’s come.