As we say goodbye to 2022, we look back at what it gave us; a war in Europe, the death of a much-loved monarch and lots of talk, doom and gloom about world finances and the cost-of-living crisis.
Many children, whatever their age, have been exposed to this situation, and it continues to take its toll on their mental health.
As parents and educators, it is up to us to show positivity, and to grasp opportunities that help our children develop the skills that are needed to cope in this very demanding life.
The dawn of a New Year presents one such opportunity. Embrace 2023 and use it to teach your children about goal setting. Learning and putting into practice realistic goals that will result in positive changes is a life skill that benefits children of all ages. It will help to learn the importance of setting obtainable goals, which include careful research and accountability.
As a family, coming together to establish a set of realistic goals for the year can result in a happier and healthier year ahead.
Endorsed by the University of Cambridge and California, educational researchers instigate the use of setting what they term as “Smart” goals. These are used in all areas of life, not only education but in areas such as finance and employment.
“Smart” goals are specific. They consider all aspects of what you want to achieve.
Specific – detail exactly what you want to achieve. Do not be vague.
Measurable – how will you be able to quantify what you have achieved?
Achievable – is it possible?
Relevant – does this goal enhance your life?
Time – set a date/deadline for achieving your goal(s)
Help your family to set either individual or whole family goals for 2023 using the “Smart” system as a guide.
Types of goals set will very much depend on the age and desires of your specific family. Younger children need to be encouraged to set goals which can be achieved on a daily basis such as always brushing their teeth before bed, whereas slightly older children can set goals which are more time dependant, such as “I will learn how to play basketball and attend practices twice a week”.
Teenagers are more than capable of setting their own goals. However, keep them on task using the “Smart” principle. Do not forget to also set family goals, such as saying that you will all spend one night a week playing a board game or enjoying a weekly walk together.
Committing to a set of “Smart” goals is especially important for healthy family bonding and, once established, will very quickly become part of everyone’s regular routine.
However, as with most things in life, no matter how much thought, planning and preparation has been put into setting your New Year’s goals, life always gives us additional elements that will alter or change completely the set goals.
Here is one of the best learning experiences for our children as flexibility and adaptability are vital life skills. Finding the positive in all that 2023 will offer and our mental health will soar.
By Penelope Best, Head of School,
Eupheus International School, Loulé