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Children’s corner: New Year family resolutions

What are New Year’s resolutions but a set of goals with a hope to better life and motivate yourself to achieve them. One of the greatest things you can teach your child is willpower and the ability to set goals and how to achieve them. One of the easiest ways in which to do this is to start with simple tasks and simple goals that your child can quantify and measure to understand the achievement.

Whether it is about cleaning up their rooms or promising to spend a day not hitting their siblings with the reward of a trip to a theme park or the beach, clearly defining goals and sticking to the implementation of rewards will help your child understand how to set goals and the power of completing them. Sit with your children today and make some goals for the year (or the week) to come — make the goals easy and low pressure — but allow your child to participate in setting the goals. Then help them through the process and offer an appropriate reward at their completion. Follow these simple rules for creating goals and a more goal-oriented, motivated child.

  1. Start with small goals like opening the car door or putting on a seat belt — make it a point to recognize the attempts and the success within each attempt. When the goal is finally achieved, recognize the achievement and move on to another goal.
  2. Plan out rewards that suit your children — this can mean asking their opinion on the reward they would like or noticing the things they enjoy and making the reward a surprise. Try not to use food as a reward since this can create an unhealthy relationship with food.
  3. Always follow through with the reward or the consequence for not completing a goal. It may sound tough, but if you constantly threaten with consequences and never follow through with punishments that are promised, your children will never understand the ramifications of bad behavior. Perhaps your consequences or punishments should be toned down so you don’t feel guilty and decide not to follow through with them.
  4. Keep note of your progress. Buy a cork board where you can pin up a schedule of goals or a description of the goal you and your child are working on now with the deadline, reward and consequences.

Goals you can work on:

  • Cleaning rooms
  • Saving money for a specific object (here the reward can be matching their savings so they only have to save half the amount)
  • Finishing homework before dinner (reward: play a board game or watch a favorite TV show)

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