This post is sponsored by The M.O.M. Method, a web-based work control system for kids:
Sometimes I’m baffled by all the hard lessons I’ve had to learn in the last 42 years — as well as those I still haven’t grasped. As my kids grow and encounter situations that I well remember walking through as a child (or adult), we have some pretty interesting conversations.
For instance, when my tween pitches a fit when he loses at Trivial Pursuit, I totally get it. Thankfully, he trusts me when I say I understand and offer another way of looking at it. Since my husband well remembers my fits — at 22 — over losing Trivial Pursuit, we can both breathe a sigh of relief that I’ve gotten over it. It took me a long time to do so, but now I can help my kids work through disappointments, even when they’re small ones like a board game not going your way.
If we play our cards right we can help our kids get farther along the path to maturity than we did at their age.
Teaching kids to set goals and accomplish them is one way to nudge them along that path and really, to set them up for success in life. I’m not saying your six-year old needs to have a to do list and personal planner, but we can come alongside our children and help them dream big dreams as well as celebrate with them when they see them to fruition.
In doing so, we give them practice at real (read: adult) life. If they learn now how to set a goal and go after it, how much better off will they be in the future?
Just as we moms take time at the New Year to think about how we want to grow and change and what things we want to accomplish in the next twelve months, our kids can benefit from dreaming up something fun and crazy — and then achieving it.
If you struggle with a child who won’t even pick up his dirty clothes, consider that the kid who has a big dream and help to accomplish it may also improve his chops at daily tasks and responsibilities. Here’s hoping, right?
How do we coach our kids in goal setting?
Very carefully! Every kid is different; some need more nudging than others. Now that my eldest is seventeen and thinking about college, I’ve found myself flapping my elbows a little more than I did when he was twelve. But, I know him, and I know he needs a little push. I have other children who I may just need to restrain a little.
Here are five steps that I’ve seen success with as a mom in helping my kids set goals and reach them.
1. Be a team player.
Kids do well when they know you’re on their side. Don’t we all? Sometimes this takes effort on a parent’s part and may require swallowing your pride on occasion. If you really do have your children’s best interests in mind, say so. Let them talk. Listen to what they have to say. Find out what they want to do.
2. Help your child be specific about a goal.
What kind of goals could a child set? Well, they can range greatly. For one child it might be to read ten books in a month; another might be interested in learning to ride a horse.
Help your child identify a specific, measurable goal. It can be something as simple as be ready for school ten minutes early every day or as lofty as raising money for an orphanage.
Most importantly, let the goal be your child’s. Don’t force your dreams and desires on him; let his guide the goal.
3. Talk about the end result.
Our family spent the last two years saving money for a trip to Europe. Our kids knew what the goal was but it didn’t seem “real” to them until last summer when I stepped up our preparations. We ate French food, watched French movies, and read books about France. They knew the goal intellectually, but we tried to make the end result more tangible.
Start a book log so your child can visualize his progress. Look at pictures from the orphanage and talk about what the staff might do with the money you raise. Talk about horses and what your child likes about them.
4. Give them space to do it, but be present on the sidelines.
It amazes me how much our kids can do on their own when we let them. They need space to do their thing — and to fall sometimes. Did they learn to walk with you holding their hands the whole way? No, eventually you had to loosen your grip and let go. Give your child space to do, but be present for help and assistant.
My friend Rosalie regularly sits in the kitchen while her teen boys cook. She’s present if they need help, but they can debone a chicken all on their own! I can’t even do that. What a sense of accomplishment she’s giving her boys to do things independently.
When we moms reach a milestone we like to celebrate. Be sure to do that when your child reaches his goal. No, don’t go buy her a Ferrari; it’s too easy for us to get caught up in material rewards.
Instead, be sure to acknowledge a job well done — have a special toast at dinner or make a call to the grandparents to share the news. Celebrate your child and his accomplishments.
One tool that can help you and your children set and accomplish goals is the M.O.M. Method:
The M.O.M. (Manage Organize Myself) Method is a web-based resource that helps parents to empower kids with time and task management skills. Designed with kids, aged 6 to 12 in mind, it’s a work control system that works to teach kids to understand exactly how much time routine tasks take so they can learn to manage their time accordingly.
The app can help your kids tackle everything on their plates —from getting ready for school to completing homework and household chores. It’s a techy chore chart/calendar that surpasses regular checklists to teach kids how to manage their time and get things done.
You can sign up for the M.O.M. Method for a free 30-day trial. Follow them on facebook and twitter as well for great tips and reminders on preparing kids for the real world. Read more about the app here.
How do YOU teach your kids how to set goals and reach them?
Disclosure: I have been compensated for my time spent writing. All opinions are my own.