Help Your Children Reach Their Goals This Year
Peter is looking forward to the new year. The last few years have been rough because of the pandemic, but now it's 2022, and he wants this year to be different. He set some big goals: 100 pushups a day, learn a new song on the guitar every week and straight As!
Peter’s mom looked at his list of new year’s resolutions. It's exciting, but she isn't sure that it's all feasible, at least, not the way he laid it out. How could she support this foray into self-improvement while still keeping things realistic?
It’s January again! With this year looking a bit more hopeful than the last few years, setting new goals and achieving them seems more possible than ever. Many resolutions have been written down and taped to the wall, yet we know that most won’t last past February or March at the latest. How can you make sure your children accomplish what they want to do this year? Here are four tips to help you help your children make 2022 a great year.
1) Set small goals first
Most people coming into the new year want to start over from the beginning, become a radically new person. While big goals are inspiring and attractive, big goals are a lot harder to realize. If fact, the bigger the goal, the harder it typically is to accomplish. And nothing is more discouraging to your children or to anyone than missing your goals and going back to the same old life patterns they were trying to break out of.
Your child might want to make some dramatic changes, and you do want to encourage that kind of self-improvement, but you also want to make sure your child actually makes an adjustment and succeeds. The best way to do this is to start small.
Take a look at the big goals your child wants to achieve and help break it down. Suggest small things that are easy to change first. When those smaller changes become habit, then introduce the next step.
For example, say your high school freshman sets a goal to get to a 3.5 GPA from a 2.5. That’s an excellent goal and a worthy ambition, but that has to be translated into smaller daily actions. How about starting with turning homework on time? It’s less glamorous than showing off his awesome GPA to his friends, but those are the actions that will lead to that 3.5 result.
After your child has consistently finished his homework for a month, then add in extra study materials to start improving those grades. Maybe hire a tutor if you child is struggling with a certain class or a specific concept. We at Spark Tutors are here to support you and your child in any goal you hope to achieve. Take things one step at a time and guide your child through the process of changing.
2) Support those small goals
Permanent change, even in small ways, is hard to maintain. So, you should support your children in every possible way to make sure they accomplish each of their goals. The easiest ways to do this are intentionally partnering with your child to build the new goal actions into both your schedules and recognizing when a milestone has been passed.
You are a busy person. Your child is also busy. If you both don’t make time for meeting your child’s goals, those goals will fall by the wayside like many January goals do. Build specific time into your
schedules. It doesn’t have to be much time; it may not even need to be every day. It all depends on what your child are trying to accomplish. You can show your support even further by joining in during that time by working on a goal of yours while your child studies.
One of the hardest parts about breaking a goal down into smaller pieces is that when a small piece is completed, the reward is correspondingly small. This is an easy fix! Plan in rewards for each step of the way. If there is an incentive, the tedious task is more likely to be done. Even just paying attention and saying something when you notice your child doing the rights things can make a huge difference. Rewards and recognition are great ways to support your child’s new year’s resolutions.
3) Expect setbacks
No change happens perfectly. Change is hard! Often when a day is skipped or a new habit is forgotten, there is a big temptation to throw up your hands and say “Better luck next year.” But that’s not what you want for your child!
Things happen. Maybe scheduling just gets too cramped one week, or something unexpected throws everything off. Perhaps the small step is still too big and your child can’t quite do it. Failure is human, so help your child be ready to fail. Have a plan in place for what happens if your child messes up.
Have your child write something in advance to read when things are going wrong. Let it be something personal that will reinspire his commitment. Set a check-in day to evaluate your child’s progress and see how things are going. If any steps need to be reevaluated so that something will definitely be successfully completed in the upcoming week, talk about it then. Do whatever you can to help your child try again.
4) Lead by example
This was mentioned above, but one of the best ways to help your child improve himself is to join him! Set your own goals and let your child keep you accountable. Your ambitions might look a little different, but you can show your child that self-improvement isn’t just for kids.
The best part is that you both can work towards accomplishing your new year’s resolutions together. During the time you set for your child to make his new habit, you can make your new habit too! Do hard things together makes them easier. It’s encouraging to know you aren’t alone.
January is a special time, and you have a special child. Help your child realize all the ways there are to develop, and guide your child through how to achieve and become new and better. It’s not easy or glamorous, but it is one of the most important things you can teach. Small, persistent steps in the right direction make the most difference, and the more steps you and your child can take, the closer you both come to realizing your potential.
This is a great time of year for new beginnings and hopefully these tips have found you in the spirit. Remember, those small positive changes consistently over time make the most difference. We’ll see you at the tutoring table!