Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goal Setting for the Summer Holidays

A year is a very long time for small children (and even older children), so helping them learn to set goals which can be achieved over the summer is a great way to introduce children to what for them is relatively "long term" goal setting.

You could start by talking round the possibilities - find out what gets your child excited. What goals would motivate and energize him, get him fired up and passionate?

You can encourage your child to think about what he would like to achieve this summer, then teach him some basic, simple goal setting skills to make it happen.

Ask your child to:

1. Think about and then write or draw in detail what his goal will look like when he's achieved it. Or, instead of writing or drawing it, you could give him old magazines that he can search for pictures that relate to his goal, and cut them out.

2. Make sure that your child has whatever represents his goal in a visible place - somewhere he will see it every day, like on a corkboard in his room for instance.

3. Encourage your child to write out the steps - actions - that he will take towards his goal. Suggest that he should do SOMETHING, no matter how small, to help carry him towards his goal each day. It could be something as big as signing up for a club or class, it could be a phone call to ask someone for help, or something as little as choosing a relevant book from the library or simply spending a little time thinking about his goal.

4. Find out how to help your child. A good place to start is by understanding how he feels about his goal and what it is that excites him. Refrain from criticizing. A child's passion, when first ignited, can be a delicate and fragile thing. Be sure to encourage him first, and only point out downsides as things to overcome rather than things that make his idea or goal silly or unachievable.

The process of setting a goal, taking action and then achieving success is critical for the development of a healthy self-esteem in children. It's not the size of the goal that matters, but the realization, developed over time and many repetitions, that "I Can Do This!"

Happy Goal Setting with your kids!

P.S. Check out this free download of a special "Summer Holidays Memory Book"

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