How To Help Your Child Make New Year's Resolutions
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A new year is near, which for many of us means it’s time to set goals and resolutions for the next 12 months. Setting clear objectives for the new year positively impact your child’s academic performance and their general development. Resolutions can be especially beneficial if you’re already aware of things your child needs to work on, helping them to learn about self-improvement.
If you’re looking for effective ways to set new goals for your family, keep reading!
1. Reflect on the current year
Reflecting on the previous/current year can help you with goal-setting, decision-making and organization to achieve the best possible results this new year.
Here are some prompts to help you get started:
What (if any) goals did you and your child set for this past year? What did you focus on the most when you were setting these goals? Was it the development of good habits? Perhaps you wanted to focus on increasing physical activity level? Take note of your previous goals and make a list that you check off, ready for the next step!
Which of these goals did your child achieve? Tick off all the goals your child achieved in the past 12 months. These can be big achievements, like improving their academic performance, or small wins, such as developing and maintaining a healthy habit.
Were there any goals your child didn’t achieve? If so, are these goals still relevant? Looking at your list of previous goals, are there any that have not been ticked off? If so, do you think they’re still relevant to your child’s academic and/or personal development?
What went well? What didn’t work? How did your child achieve some of their goals? Did you help them along the way? Did they have a structured plan?
2. Talk to your child about their achievements and struggles
Once you’re done reflecting on the past year logically, it’s now time to discuss how your child feels about their achievements and challenges they faced in the past year.
Here are some useful questions to ask:
What are they proud to have achieved this year?
What topics did they enjoy learning about the most at school/at home?
What was their biggest academic challenge and how did they feel about it?
How can you help them achieve their goals next year?
3. Set realistic and achievable goals
Taking your goals, as well as your child’s goals into consideration, what would work best for you and can the entire family support this? For example, if a new goal is to become a better reader, it’s important to dedicate some time (preferably on a daily basis), to ensure that this goal can be achieved. This means that if you work and your child has extracurricular activities or attends after school clubs, it would be great to devote some time to reading in the evenings!
Would timed-bound/measurable goals work for you and your child? For example, are your child’s goals topic-focused, or do they want to improve their grade in a particular subject? Having “timed” goals can increase motivation and act as a way to push your child to achieve the goals set in a more effective way.
New year’s resolutions aren’t just about becoming a better student! There are many aspects that can impact your child’s school life, so it’s important to encourage your child to set goals that aren’t directly linked to education, which can include:
Helping the community
Finding a new hobby
4. Ensure that the goals you set for your child are age-appropriate.
For example, it would be unrealistic to aim for a preschooler to learn how to write fluently without any prior practice. Keeping your child’s age in mind is key - instead, you could focus on working on pre-writing skills, to ensure that you build a strong foundation for when your child is ready to start their writing journey.
Teach them that focusing on emotional and more personal goals is also extremely valuable. Here are some goals that focus on emotional and personal development:
Aim for a random act of kindness everyday (it can be as little as complimenting someone).
Try new foods!
5. Check in on your child’s goals
Once your child’s goals for the new year are set and they’ve started working on achieving them, make sure you check in on their progress! Here are some things to look out for and discuss with your child:
Discuss ongoing issues
Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and what we think should be an easy task can prove itself to be a true challenge! This is why regular discussions about your child’s progress are so important. If they have concerns or are apprehensive about a specific goal they set at the beginning of the year, they should feel comfortable and comforted by talking about it with their family members. Discussing ongoing issues is a wonderful way to develop emotional intelligence, resilience and communication skills - so it’s a win-win no matter what the outcome is!
Ask about reoccurring/new challenges and how you can help them overcome them. Once you’ve had that initial discussion, it’s always a good idea to get “feedback” from your child. Ask them what you can do to best support them and how they’d like to move forward with this particular goal.
Celebrate small achievements - did your child win student of the week at school? Perhaps they took part in a writing competition? Whatever small wins you can celebrate, make a “big deal” out of them! This will motivate your child to keep working hard and doing their best to achieve their goals.
6. Prepare for setbacks
Setbacks and changes will happen, so teaching your child not to be discouraged by them is key to successfully achieving their goals for the upcoming year. These offer a great opportunity for growth and to learn how to deal with unexpected situations!
7. Be kind to yourself and to your child
Always remember that the goals you and your child set for the year can, and will most likely, change in some way, and that’s okay! Change is good, and it can open many doors!
8. Make goal-setting fun!
Plan a weekly family board game night, or aim to read a new book every month, or work on a new skill - the possibilities are endless!
Whatever your new year’s resolutions are, we wish your family a very happy and successful new year!
If you’re looking to improve your child’s reading and writing skills this upcoming year, check out Nightzookeeper.com! Our gamified approach to learning makes reading and writing fantastically fun for any child, and we’d love your child to try it!
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