Setting Goals with your Child for 2021

As the year winds down and we start looking ahead to 2021, most of us set goals for the coming year. While you’re setting your goals, why not take the time to help your child set some as well? Teaching children the valuable skill of goal-setting is important because it’s something they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.

  • Begin on a positive note. Brainstorm with your children, first making a list of things they do well, then looking for areas where they’d like to improve or learn something new. Consider “Three Stars and a Wish” as a planning exercise. Have the kids establish three “stars”, or strengths, and one “wish” of something to aspire to.
  • Strive for goals that are both ambitious and obtainable. This year has been a challenging one for most students, so there’s likely to be an area in which your child doesn’t feel especially competent and would like to improve. By making sure the goals he or she sets are obtainable, you’ll help to build confidence.
  • Choose some goals that are just for fun. Maybe your child wants to learn origami this year, or how to blow bubbles with bubblegum, or how to whistle. It makes working towards goals more interesting if there are aspirations in the mix that aren’t too serious.
  • Turn wishes into goals. What’s the difference between a wish and a goal? It all comes down to having a plan. Help your child determine exactly how he or she will reach the goal you’ve set together, breaking it down into achievable steps.
  • Write everything down. It’s helpful to have a visual reminder of the goals you’ve chosen, perhaps in the form of a chart. When you have a chart on the wall, you and your child can easily record progress being made toward achieving the stated goals.
  • Set a timeline and check in periodically. Talk with your children about a reasonable length of time needed to achieve their goals. Establish expectations, not just for the main goal, but for the little steps along the way. Determine intervals at which you’ll check in to see how your child is feeling about the progress being made.
  • Don’t assume the achievement is its own reward! While your child will feel a sense of accomplishment upon achieving the stated goal, rewards are a great motivator. This can be as simple as stickers on the chart along the way, or you can plan for a big reward once the goal is met.

If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, STAR of CA is here to offer support, keeping you informed of opportunities for fun with your kids and providing important support services. Founded in 2006, we provide behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in a nurturing environment that offers support for the entire family. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.588.8896.