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8 Questions To Help Children Set Their Own New Year's Goals

Photograph by Twenty20

I've always been fascinated with goals. As a child, I remember keeping list after list in my journal of things I wanted to do, places I hoped to visit, books I planned to read, and all that jazz. Some were quite realistic, Others, like "take a road trip around the entire USA" with a handful of friends … at age 16 … were not. Still, goals were my jam and my best friend and I would ceremoniously stay up until midnight every New Year's Eve and ring in the coming year with an official reading of our annual hopes and dreams. Looking back, it was a pretty magical feeling to face a fresh 12 months and lay out plans for all we hoped to accomplish.

Now, in my adult life, the week after Christmas has become my week of planning for the New Year. I aim for my goals to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound) and the last few years things have worked out well. Of course, as a mom, my goals are always glittered with a dash of grace and flexibility, but for the most part setting New Year's goals has been a positive way for me to keep my life not 100% focused on diapers and dirty dishes.

This year I'm looping my three and five-year old into the tradition of New Year's goals. They're both at the age where they somewhat understand the course of time and they anticipate doing and learning new things. It's the perfect combination for goal setting!

RELATED: 10 New Year's Resolutions for New Moms

If you'd like your children to join in the annual tradition of New Year's goals, help them begin brainstorming with this list of simple questions:

1. What place would you like to visit and learn more about? Feel free to give some ideas of realistic options like a specific city, nature setting or historical location. If you need ideas yourself visit the nonfiction children's section at your local library to explore options together.

2. What is something new you would like to learn that is science related? Again, plant the seed on topics you're open to exploring too. You never know what lifelong love they could discover this year by trying out an at-home experiment or going on a weekend family field trip.

3. What is something new you would like to do with your body? Prompt this question with developmentally appropriate choices like learn to skip, ride a bike, run a 1/2 mile without stopping, swim the length of the pool, etc.

4. How many new books would you like to read each week? Such a great way to help them move out of the repeat run!

Remember those SMART guidelines, especially with this type of goal, to give your kids ownership over their chosen task.

5. What is something you would like to change in your family/school/neighborhood? Let your little ones dream big. I once read that the best way to help guide a child's future career is to ask them what they want to change in the world instead of asking them what they want to become.

6. Who do you want to be an encouragement to this year and how will you do that? This is one of my favorites! Aim to choose 12 different people and have a focused way you bless a new person each month.

7. How will you be a big helper at home? The illustrious chore conversation! But, when tied into goals, it can be considered a fun accomplishment to say "I take my dirty clothes to the laundry room before bed each night without being asked" or "I empty the dishwasher's silverware compartment every day after nap". Remember those SMART guidelines, especially with this type of goal, to give your kids ownership over their chosen task.

8. What is something you would like to memorize? This is another monthly option, it just depends on how much you want to spearhead new things! Try out poems, counting in a different language, Mom and Dad's phone number or your family motto.

RELATED: If My Toddler Made New Year's Resolutions...

Once you wrap up your Q&A session, type up a goal list and hang it in a prominent place. Revisit it often with your kids so you can schedule activities and guide their goals throughout the year!

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