With a new year comes the promise of a new beginnings, turning over a new leaf, and starting with a blank slate. Setting New Year’s resolutions is an age-old tradition that allows us to envision a new year with a different ending. My husband and I, thanks to lessons learned from others years ago, have been setting New Year’s resolutions for many years. Though ours tend to be resolutions…on steroids. They’re not just ideas we stop working on come February 1; we lay out PLANS. With action steps. We’re talking full-on goal setting. These goals guide our plan for the year. We look at where we currently are, and then set new goals to move forward and progress in our relationship, in our professional careers, and in our family. Once we added a little one to our family, as he’s grown and become a toddler, it was natural to want to set goals for him, too.
Goals…for a two-year old? I know, I know. But bear with me.
The doctor checks out baby’s milestones at the annual appointment, right? Your pediatrician has goals for your little one. And no, I’m not talking about stressing out over if your kiddo can throw a baseball left-handed by 25 months. I’m talking about thinking lovingly about what your kiddo can do now and where you’d like to see them grow this year.
If you were to take a look at those toddler milestones, what are some ways you could help your kiddo reach them? Or even exceed that milestone?
Here are nine areas where we set goals for ourselves, along with examples for how you could begin to set goals for your little ones:
If your little ones are able to remember songs or have started to recite their favorite books to you, they are ready to learn Bible verses. Start simple! Practice with them in the car and add fun hand motions. You can also help them begin to learn to pray at mealtimes or bedtime.
Perhaps you have a favorite charity to which you like to donate. Have your kiddo help pack up clothes and explain the reasons for helping. Have you been volunteering your time? Bring them along with you. Let your little ones see how you serve others.
Is your child ready to start learning chores? Get it on it, mama! Now you have help! It may take a little extra patience to teach the new skill, but then let them take responsibility for completing that task. Or make it a goal for your kiddo to spend quality one-on-one time with other family members or extended family. Help them build lasting relationships.
Have you been meaning to schedule swim lessons? Or is this the year for soccer to start? Do it! Your kiddo will benefit from the lessons learned.
We noticed our little man was having trouble taking turns with his cousins, so we set a goal to help him with that. We play games at home and make it a priority for him to understand when it’s someone else’s turn during an activity. Hopefully those lessons at home are transferring over to playtime with others!
6. Mental & Emotional
There are some things about toddlerhood that are just a part of the process, and figuring out emotions is a stressful one, amiright? Plan to help your little one by talking through their frustration and what they are feeling. If you’re looking for goals for the mental category, set time aside for extra reading time or helping them learn a new skill (drawing, learning colors, building with LEGOs). Make this one fun for you too!
Alright, kid. It’s time for you to earn your weight around here. Or not? This category may be more parents-only. Unless your teenagers are starting to look for ways to make money? Think about ways your teen can move toward booking that summertime gig.
Maybe they’re ready to learn about money and what coins and dollars are? (Think simple here!) If you started up the chore list, will your little one earn a quarter for each chore completed?
There are always a few things to keep in mind when you’re setting any kind of goals:
Make them attainable. I don’t even want to work on a goal if I set the bar too high. (Lose 20 lbs. by Valentine’s! Uh…not so much.) Let your kiddo know they are working toward a particular result. When they realize they finally got there, they’ll be as proud as you are of the accomplishment!
Involve others in your child’s progress. Tell family members and teachers the things you are working on so they can help and can celebrate when they reach a goal!
Are your kids a little older? Let them be involved in the process and set some goals for themselves. Encourage them along the way.
There is no doubt this involves extra commitment from mama. Not only will these goals be work for your little one, they’ll likely create some added work for you too. However, when you are intentional in these goal areas, you help create a purpose and a plan for your year! Solid plans that won’t fizzle out come February. And you’ll be glad your family spent time on these goals!