Goal Setting for Tweens

Goal Setting for Tweens

Happy New Year!  Do you set New Year’s resolutions?  I can’t remember exactly when, but I think I was in High School that I decided I was never setting a New Year’s resolution again.  But some may argue, it was a brand new year!  A new chance to get a blank slate and start fresh they say.  Why would I give up the opportunity to set a New Year’s resolution?  It was simple.  New Year’s resolutions usually get broken.  Really quickly.  Instead, I started setting goals.  I was significantly more successful in reaching a goal than trying to keep a New Year’s resolution.  This year, I am passing on that tradition to my daughter.

The following is a step-by-step guide aimed at helping Tweens set goals.  However, the principles are universal.  You can use them for younger or older children, or even yourself.

Six Strategies for Goal Setting with your Tween

  1. Have a Preliminary Conversation to Plant the Seed
  2. Share Examples of a Goal and ask them to Think About what Goals they may want to set
  3. Help them Build their Goals into SMART goals
  4. Establish a Prominent Place to Display Goals
  5. Solicit Support to Encourage Progress
  6. Offer Non-Monetary Rewards to Celebrate Progress and Success

Have a Preliminary Conversation to Plant the Seed

Before you sit down for the actual goal planning session, help your tween understand why they would want to set goals in the first place.  Help them think big and dream ahead to how it will feel when they achieve their goal.  You want to encourage them to be excited.

Share Examples of a Goal and ask them to Think About what Goals they may want to set

Share a few examples of goals that they may benefit from and ask the to think about what they might want to achieve.  Perhaps they want to improve their grades in school.  Maybe they want to learn a new skill like cooking, painting or chess.  If they participate in a sport, how would they like to get better at it?

Fun printable to help brainstorm goal ideasOnce you have sparked their imagination, let them take some time to brainstorm on their own about goals they may like to set for themselves.  You can find the link to this fun printable to help your tween brainstorm ideas of goals that they would like to set at the bottom of the post.

Encourage them to think big and not get hung up on any specific details just yet.



Help them Build their Goals into SMART goals

Smart goal planning sheet for tweensOnce they have completed their brainstorming, help them to prioritize their goals and select one at a time to transform into a SMART goal.  By utilizing the SMART goal methodology, you will help your tween create goals that are easily understood, able to be followed within a specific timeframe and even include a clear incentive for achieving the goal.

The following guide will help them understand how to create their SMART goals:

S – Specific  What exactly do you want to accomplish?

M – Measurable  How will you know that you are making progress towards achieving this goal?  How will you know when you’ve met your goal.

A – Achievable  This is where you want to do a quick assessment to make sure that this is actually something that is realistic for you to achieve.  While it is important to stretch yourself and strive for more than you are capable of now, it is very important that you don’t stretch so far that no matter what, you won’t be able to achieve your goal.

R – Rewarding  Consider both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.  For example, when you improve your grades, you will feel really good.  If you learn how to bake, you will have fun and get to share your finished products with friends and family.  These are examples of intrinsic value.  While the intrinsic value of achieving a goal is the most important part, it is also important to celebrate milestones and achievements.  Consider adding a reward like going out for ice cream if you reach that A for the quarter in math.

T – Timely  What is the timeframe for achieving the goal?  Is it something that should be accomplished in a month?  A quarter?  By next June?  Set a specific timeframe to accomplish the goal.

Once you have outlined each of these areas, re-write your goal, incorporating each of the elements.  Repeat this process for each of the goals you would like to work on.  Consider choosing 2-4 to work on as a starting point.  It is important to not get overwhelmed.  As you accomplish one, you can continue to add additional goals.

Locate a Prominent Place to Display Goals

Smart Goals PrintableShare the My Goals printable with them to write down each of their SMART goals.  Encourage them to post it somewhere where they will see it and interact with it every day.  It is best if they read them out loud and think about what they can do each day to make progress towards achieving their goal.

They can post the entire page or cut out each box and post them on their wall, bathroom mirror, desk, etc. Encourage them to personalize it to make it something they are excited to look at each day.


Solicit Support to Encourage Progress

You will likely play a huge role in your tween’s progress towards reaching their goals.  Your support and encouragement will be very important at every step along the way.  In addition to your contributions, consider who else can play a part in the achievement of your tween’s goals.  Perhaps a teacher would be a great partner in their goal of achieving an A for next quarter’s math grade.  Consider reaching out to your daughter’s ballet teacher or your son’s hockey coach to provide guidance and encouragement on their path to improving their skills.  Can a grandparent check in once a week to get an update on their progress?  It truly takes a village to raise a child and this can be a fantastic opportunity to call upon the support of your village.

Offer Non-Monetary Rewards to Celebrate Progress and Success

The spotlight of attaining the goal should focus on the intrinsic value of reaching the goal.  You want your tween to establish a history of being rewarded by completing the goal itself and the satisfaction it brings, rather than completing the goal simply to achieve the established reward.  For this reason, it is always better to offer non-monetary rewards for reaching milestones or completing a goal.  While monetary rewards can be extremely effective, you want your tween to have the ability to achieve results without a promise of cash at the end.  It is, however, important to celebrate progress towards and the achievement of their goals.  They have worked hard, and your recognition of their efforts can go a long way towards their future engagement.  A special dinner with their favorites, a trip to get ice cream or an art project kit.  Choose something that will be meaningful to them.

Download Your Goal Planning Printables Here

I hope you have found this guide and printables valuable.  I would love to hear about how you have put them into action in your life!  If you liked this post, I also hope you will sign up for my mailing list.  Just for signing up, you will get a great family meeting guide and printable.

Christmas Boxes – My New Favorite Christmas Tradition

Christmas Boxes – My New Favorite Christmas Tradition

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…  I’m writing this post by the light of our Christmas tree with instrumental music playing in the background.  Now that we were finally able to hang ornaments on our tree, it is finally starting to feel like Christmas.  I am very excited to share our family tradition of Christmas Boxes with you.  They have become one of my new favorite Christmas traditions.

Growing up our family always did the same thing on Christmas Eve.  Mom would put the ham and potatoes in the oven.  We would go to Christmas Eve service at Church.  After, we would come home and eat Christmas dinner on mom’s fine China.  Everyone helped clear the table, put away all of the food, and handwash all of the dishes.  Then, the event my brother and I couldn’t wait for…we were like “kids on Christmas”.  Oh wait, we were kids on Christmas!  It was time to OPEN PRESENTS!!!

When my husband was growing up, Christmas presents weren’t opened until Christmas day in his house.  This caused us some challenges as we worked to figure out what the tradition would be in our house.  He did it my way for many years.  Several years ago we adopted the tradition of going to the midnight service at our Church.  The service starts at 11 pm and ends just past midnight in a dark sanctuary with everyone holding a candle and singing silent night.  We have continued this tradition even though this means we have to wake our children up and bring them to church in the middle of the night.  When we started doing this, we stopped opening presents on Christmas Eve so our kids could head to bed early and get some sleep.

A New Tradition is Born

Christmas Eve BoxI found these great boxes at a craft store last year and immediately knew that they held the magic for a great new family tradition.  I had an idea that would allow me to feel like I was honoring my childhood tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve while honoring my husband’s family tradition of opening on Christmas Day.  And so the tradition of Christmas Eve boxes was born in our house.  I have purchased a box for each of my three children.  I fill the boxes with lots of Christmas love and goodies.

Ideas for what to put into the boxes

  • Christmas PJs (to wear to bed on Christmas Eve)
  • A Christmas Book
  • Hot Chocolate & Marshmallows
  • Mug (for the Hot Chocolate)
  • A Christmas Snack
  • A Movie to Watch as a Family
  • Slippers
  • A Cozy Blanket

The kids get to open their boxes before bedtime on Christmas Eve.  Last year they all changed into their PJs, enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa and we read their Christmas books before they headed to bed.  This year I purchased a new movie for us all to watch together on Christmas morning.

To make our tradition even more special, I have asked each of the kids to write their favorite memory from Christmas that year.  Their memory goes into their Christmas box before it gets packed away.  Each year they will get to read their Christmas memory from all of the past years.

Just for fun…here is an outtake from our Christmas Eve boxes Christmas Eve Box Outtake

I love sharing this tradition with my kids.  I hope you have enjoyed it as well!  What is your favorite Christmas tradition in your house?

Christmas Banner for Cute Christmas Card Display

Christmas Banner for Cute Christmas Card Display

One of my favorite signs of the Christmas season is receiving Christmas cards from many of our friends and neighbors.  I used to just stack up all of the cards, not really knowing where to put them.  A few years ago I decided to hang them up on the wall in our kitchen and a new tradition was born.  Now our kitchen wall transforms into the “Christmas Card Display Wall” each year and lovingly displays all of the cards, pictures, and letters we receive.  This year I decided to make it even more festive by adding this adorable (and really simple!!) Christmas banner.

I used my Cricut Explore and the entire project only took me about 15 – 20 minutes.  I’m going to share my template with you so if you want to make one of these adorable banners for yourself, it couldn’t be easier!

Step 1 – Choose your Paper and Ribbon.

I used three different colors: color 1, color 2, and color 3.  I didn’t measure the ribbon but started with a fairly full spool of my chosen ribbon.

Step 2 – Open and Sign into Cricut Design Space

You can complete this project on an older Cricut if you don’t have the new Cricut Explore.  If this is the case, you will either need to find a cartridge that has a similar Banner (the specific banner I used was from Birthday Bash and the text is from Everyday Fonts), however, feel free to choose something else depending on what you have.  If you are using an older Cricut, cut the banner directly on the machine and jump down to step four.

Step 3 – Open the Christmas Banner Design

I’ve done all of the hard work for you.  You can simply open the design, load your mat and start cutting.  I made my banner fairly small.  Each flag measures 2 1/4″ tall.  You can feel free to adjust the size of the flag to suit your needs.

Layout of Cricut Explore Template

Step 4 – Assemble each Letter of your Banner

This is perhaps the most time-consuming part.  You will need to glue on the border and the letter to each flag.  My absolute favorite glue for projects like this is this one.  It glides on easily and can go over the openings in the letters smoothly.  I could not craft without this glue!  I used this brand new tool that I got for the first time for this project and I loved it!  It’s really inexpensive and was perfect for picking up the letters and holding them down while I glued them.  I usually get glue all over my fingers and was thrilled when I was able to keep them sticky free!

Christmas Banner In Progress

Step 5 – String Banner together with Ribbon

Start with the last letter in each word and thread the ribbon from the back through the right hole, across the front of the flag and then back down the left hole.  Then continue threading the ribbon through the rest of the letters in the word.  You can decide if you want the full “Merry Christmas” to be on one line or to separate it.  I chose to separate mine.  Be sure to leave the ribbon long on each of your ends so you can decide how you want it displayed on your wall.

Thread Ribbon Through Each Flag

Threading Ribbon on Christmas Banner

BONUS STEP: You can add eyelets to each of the holes with a Crop-a-dial.  I didn’t take this step with this banner but it is a really nice touch if you are giving this as a gift or really want to make sure it stands up to years and years of use.

Once it is complete, you can attach it to your wall with a bit of invisible tape and that’s it!  This banner is versatile so you don’t have to limit it to a Christmas card display wall.  You can hang it on your fireplace, dress up your kid’s bedroom or door, decorate your office or cube at work…  The possibilities are endless!

Christmas Banner on Wall

I hope you have enjoyed this quick and fun Merry Christmas Banner tutorial and idea for a Christmas card display wall!  What do you do with your Christmas cards once the holidays are over?  Be sure to check back soon because I’ll be sharing with you the absolutely adorable crafty tradition I started to save all of my Christmas cards.

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