Even Kids can Benefit from Goal-Setting, by Beverly Smith

by Katie Henderson on January 16, 2020

As we enter 2020, many adults are making goals, such as better health, family commitments and professional growth. We all have ways in which we can improve … even the most accomplished people have something that falls short in their life. Goal setting helps you to be accountable to yourself and make changes on your own terms.
Every year, my husband and I set practical goals and make posters to display so we’re reminded of them every day. This year, we decided to include our daughter, Isabelle, who just turned 3. At first we thought she might not understand this activity, but decided to show her by modeling our way of thinking about our goals. Surprisingly, she was able to come alongside us and come up with several personal goals on her own! (Never underestimate your little one’s abilities. They will likely surprise you!) For a few other of her goals, we provided some help and gentle leading.
What do goals look like for a 3 year old? Well, very broad of course, but still attainable. For Isabelle, working on social skills, such as sharing and being patient were on the top of her list. Isn’t it amazing that she was even aware of such needs? These were followed by some physical goals that were important to her, such as riding a bike and learning to roller skate. These goals helped us to learn more about what she wants to accomplish and areas she felt were important to her. The activity also helped us have mutual understanding and enables us to lay some expectations for how we can work together to raise awareness and make progress in these areas. Says Music Connections Foundations Director Katie Henderson on this: “Just as with adults, when children come up with ideas themselves, on their own (and 3 is the PERFECT age to begin this), they are much more likely to be aware of and act on them. Problem-solving and leading kids in a discussion, but also giving them time to think and verbalize, to the extent they are able, is a powerful way to teach and impact development at this age.” Isabelle was excited to decorate the goals poster and place it in her room. Having that visual is important to keep awareness at the forefront for kids (as it is for adults). Every few days we discuss our goals and evaluate what we could do to help us accomplish them.
Weekly Kindermusik class helps us with these goals. She can practice sharing and patience in a loving & safe environment while we are in class, like waiting for a turn to play an instrument or passing a puppet around class. She can also improve motor skills important for skating and biking, such as balance and coordination. Her Kindermusik class has a weekly FOCUS that allows for concentration on such things. Says Katie Henderson: “This week, for instance, our focus was the positional words of high and low, and we “flew” high, practiced jumping into the air, “leaped” low like frogs on the ground, and “rolled over” like Rover the Dog (working on our core muscles); EVERYTHING in Kindermusik has a musical AND developmental goal – it’s so powerful, yet fun!” Isabelle’s teacher gently encourages her to participate and stretch to do certain tasks in class.
Kindermusik has helped Isabelle have confidence, learn it’s okay to have areas in which we need improvement, and be aware that we aren’t good at everything. Kindermusik focuses positively on what kids do well and encourages personal growth in areas a child may need to grow.
Life, and every new year, is an opportunity for growth and change – whether you’re 3, 33 or 63! Hopefully Isabelle will accomplish the goals she set for 2020 (and me too); but, if not there’s always 2021, and another new opportunity for us to work together as mother and daughter. Happy New Year everyone!

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