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Keep Kids Motivated to Achieve Their SMART Goals

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Written by Sara Dennis of Classically Homeschooling.

Have your kids made their SMART goals and resolutions yet? It’s a New Year’s tradition! But quitting your new resolutions is also a tradition in January. So just how do you keep your kids motivated to achieve their SMART goals this year?

Keep Kids Motivated to Achieve Their SMART Goals

Marble Jar

Have you ever set up a marble jar for the family? First find yourself a fancy jar or a quart canning jar to keep on the counter. Place a bowl of marbles next to the jar. Make sure you have enough marbles to fill the jar.

Now brainstorm a long list of activities which will bring your kids closer to their goals. It could be going on a bike ride, reading a book, studying French, or writing a page. Every time one of your children does an activity which will bring them closer to achieving their goals, drop a marble into the jar.

Gradually the jar will fill, giving your kids a visual reminder of how much closer they are to achieving their SMART goals.

When the jar is filled, do something fun as a family. Have a pizza party, a family movie night, or go roller skating. Celebrate your accomplishments before pouring the marbles back into the bowl.

It’s time to fill the marble jar again.

Hold Yourselves Accountable

Having an accountability partner makes people much more likely to achieve their goals, so make your kids accountable.

There are three ways to go about creating accountability partners within the family.

One is to assign kids to each other. The kids have to check up with each other about their progress towards their goals. Did they practice violin today? Stress that the children must be polite and civil to one another. Name-calling is not allowed.

Another method is to make all your kids accountability partners with yourself. You choose a different personal goal for each child to track for you. The goal could be staying on top of the laundry, taking a walk, or avoiding chocolate. In return, you hold each child accountable to you for achieving one of their SMART goals.

My favorite method is simply to add accountability to the family dinner conversation. Chat about what you did to achieve your goals today. Ask your kids how their progress is going. Brainstorm solutions as a family when setbacks appear.

Make Goals Fun

After the first excitement of goal setting wears off, kids are left looking at a year of tedious tasks. So instead of watching your kids wander back into their old habits, brainstorm ways to make their goals fun.

Perhaps your children can walk while playing Pokemon Go, find their favorite book in French and begin translating it, or stick a smiley face on the calendar each time they complete a task towards their goal.

Sometimes just seeing how far they can go before breaking a winning streak is enough to keep kids motivated.

Make Alternate Plans

When kids are setting their SMART goals, they forget to plan for the inevitable setbacks that happen during the year.  The flu wears them out for a week. The language DVD breaks. Outside commitments take up every spare minute.

The reason for the setback doesn’t matter. What does matter is that your kids will hit snags along the road. It’s as inevitable as laundry.

Before the setbacks arrive, brainstorm alternative plans with your kids. Make a list of ways to study French without a language DVD. Devise a simple method of practicing music without actually having the instrument in hand.

Make alternate plans for achieving goals before the problems arrive.

With these simple tips, you’ll be able to encourage your children to stay motivated through the year and be part of the small percentage who actually keep their New Years Resolutions.

How do you keep your kids motivated to achieve their SMART goals?

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