New Year's Resolutions often involve more exercise or sporting activity - so why not get the kids to record their plans with a picture! It would be nice to think that, having drawn themselves playing sport or exercising, they are more likely to carry through...
Regular goal setting is important for everyone, and if we start early with the kids and make it fun, it can become a habit for life. Many schools now run through a goal setting exercise at the beginning of every school year and school term, with regular reviews along the way. You can do the same, or of course you can set some goals with the kids yourself at home.
Why should children set goals?
Feeling in control is an important part of feeling happy and confident. Regular and careful goal setting can help children feel that they are taking control of their own behaviour and working towards something; having a positive impact, no matter how small.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Be careful to keep the goals realistic and measured. Start small!
Some supervision might be necessary here, as the last thing you want is for children to set goals that are just too high and impossible to reach. It doesn't necessarily help a child to boldly declare "I will play football for Chelsea". Instead try "I will work 15 minutes every day to improve my football skills by practising ball control".
Think about the time scale for your children's goals.
Many people like to set an end-date to make their goals "measurable", and if you are working on goals in a school-setting this may well be appropriate. I have found, however, that a time-scale can put children - especially younger children - off. Young children find it hard to understand the concept of time. It can be more effective to set a simple goal which can be "ticked off" every night before bed, which has the added benefit of teaching children how to instill a good habit. "I made my room tidy before I left for school" or "I got everything ready for tomorrow before bedtime" can be useful skills - and goals, too!
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
Think about what might get in the way before you start.
If your child has decided that they want to read a book a week, but you know they spend most of their reading time watching television instead, the time to point it out is when the goal is being set. They might even include it in the goal itself. "I will turn off the TV 20 minutes before supper so that I can spend that time reading instead."
Show children how to break down their goals into smaller steps.
A child that wants to be prime minister one day might start by trying out for class representative, or signing up for public speaking practice after school.
Look out for goal-setting opportunities.
When a child starts a sentence with "I wish I could..." or "I wish I had..." - there's a possible goal to work towards at the end of it, even it just means some careful saving up of pocket money for the lastest video game!
Try to encourage co-operative goals rather than competitive goals.
Some children might want to "come first" in all their tests. Perhaps a better goal would be "to score over 80% in all my tests". That way, the outcome is something that they contribute to and, at least to some extent, achieve by their own hard work.
Make sure kids choose their own goals - not just try to please others!
If you are working with your children to set goals, it can be tempting to "help" with your own ideas - especially if you have a reluctant child! Try hard to elicit a goal from the child rather than impose your own.
Remind children that they don't have to achieve all their goals!
Goals are something to work towards and aim for. Falling short isn't necessarily a bad thing, if we keep moving in the right direction. Remind kids to learn from their slip-ups and road-blocks. Keeping a record of goals set and tracking how children work towards them can help with this.
Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.
W. Clement Stone
Explore Our Goal Setting Printables...
Use this printable to help children think about the ways in which they can build friendships - either in general or with a specific friend.
When making plans, whether at the New Year or any time, it is always good to think about charitable giving and helping others.
This 'believe' word story paper is perfect for writing inspirational creative stories or writing your own thoughts on what it means to 'believe'. There's a pretty illustration to colour in, too...
Here's a fun way to keep a reading list! Just get the kids to write the names of the books (and maybe the authors) on the spines and covers on the picture. Perhaps they could colour in each book as they read it?
Do you like to write down what happens in your dreams? You could use this story paper to record them or write about your hopes and dreams for the future...
Write down your thoughts on what faith means to you on this pretty story paper, then colour in the illustration. We have lined and handwriting lined versions to choose from below.
Children can use this story paper to make a list of plants they might like to try growing! They could also think about how they might drow as a person and set themselves some goals.
If I could learn about anything at all, I would like to learn about.... Children can draw pictures or write about all the things they would most like to learn about using this open book printable.
Encourage children to use their imagination and/or their goal setting skills to think about the place that they would like to travel, if they could travel anywhere in the world (or beyond it!) Younger children can draw in their answer and older children can write.
When what you do has an impact, it can ripple out and touch many people. That's why it is important to make sure that your actions have a good impact on the world!
If the kids can only choose one, really important, mega goal for the year, what will it be? Use this printable page (which comes blank for drawings and lined for writing) to detail it out.
Use this worksheet with the kids, to brainstorm ways in which a child's actions can have a positive or negative action on the world around them.
This worksheet can be used to help children think about how every small - and sometimes careless - action can make a big difference to the world around them. It's a great way to encourage them to plan some good actions intentionally into their lives!
Here's a fun way to capture your child's best ideas - in a light bulb frame! We've got a blank version for drawings and doodles and a lined version for passionate words...
Inventing new things is a lot of fun! If you could invent anything, what would it be? Draw your invention inside the lightbulb on this worksheet then write a little about what your invention will do...
You can use this printable at the beginning of each year, or at any time, to encourage children to think about what changes they would like to see in the world. What will their "wish for the world" be? It might surprise you!
The border to this pretty printable page repeats "My Wish" - and that's what we want children to capture on it, whether by picture or writing. You might find that their wishes are teeny tiny and easily granted - or big enough to impact the world.
We have three variations of printable on the "protecting the environment" theme. The first asks children to draw a picture of themselves protecting the environment.
Here's a lovely piggy bank printable for - you guessed it - money saving goals! Encourage children to think about what they might want to buy in the near future and how they might save up for it. Older children could also come up with a savings plan of a certain amount of money each week.
This printable is a fun way for children to list (or draw) some of the things they would like to do with their friends in the coming year or the future generally. The illustration might give them some starting points...
Encourage the kids to write down their sport and exercise goals and commit to them using this fun writing frame. Why not colour it in, too? Younger children can use the blank version to do a drawing rather than write, if they prefer.
Children can draw or write about the best dream they can imagine having on this lovely printable page, which comes in two versions - one "framed" and one borderless.
Here's a fun activity for the New Year, for a Famous People Topic, or for any time! Just ask your child to think of one person he or she would most like to meet (possibly even choosing someone from history) and write about what would make the meeting interesting.
What can you achieve when you accept that the sky is the limit? Perhaps this story paper could be used for goal setting!
This is a lovely way of encouraging children to write down a few little goals - or six, to be precise. Each one goes into a box to be guarded over by one of the children in the illustration, which of course your child can colour in if they wish.
Thinking about how a child can help at home is the theme of this printable page. Perhaps he or she could help with chores, tidying up a bedroom and putting away toys, reading to a baby brother or sister and so on.
Why not encourage children to think about how they might be able to help out at school using this fun printable? Perhaps they could take on a role in the classroom, look out for a shy classmate, pick up rubbish in the playground, or hand out books ...
Encourage children to think about ways they can grow and develop and ask them to write or draw them around the word 'grow' on this beautifully illustrated worksheet.
Brainstorm ideas with pictures or words ideas for how children can help others to 'grow'. They might share a skill with a brother or sister or give a friend a favourite book, for example...
This is an unusual goal-setting printable which asks children what they would most like to see, hear, feel or smell. For me the answer to all four is "the sea" but their answers might be more interesting!