My, oh my. We were so naive then about virtual school and Covid and just how hard the year would be. We made it through, but only just. I couldn’t stay on the kids about their goals because this was supposed to be about them and their growth, and each day with the Chromebooks was torture. I just didn’t have it in me to hound them. I only lasted about a month or two with mine, and I think my husband hit his goals with books he wanted to read. That was about it.
So how do we regroup this year, while we’re still in a weird in-between, delta variants threatening our newly vaccinated freedoms, and God help us all, a daughter starting middle school?
Well, I’ll tell you this. After 18 months in a pandemic, I am still worried about my kids academically. So there will be some goals around school. But I’m also so into our little family bubble and am currently obsessed with The Adventure Challenge books I bought on sale last month—so we’ll have some goals around doing things as a family. And, even after working out so consistently for 63 days and feeling on top of the world completing a full round of Insanity—I’ve let work and shuttling kids around get the best of my schedule and I’m back down to only a few days a week, so some fitness goals need to be written down again.
Here are the tips from last year that I can offer as you plan for your goals and your evening with the kiddos.
- Plan in advance: I let the kids know about a week in advance that we were going out to a fancy dinner to discuss our goals for the school year and everything they wanted to accomplish. Then each day I reminded them and asked them to be thinking about their goals. (This year, we are going to be doing our goal setting at the beach—hoping that some beautiful scenery inspires them and me!)
- Come prepared: I brought each person their own notepad and pen. My second grader has terrible penmanship and can’t spell, so I wrote his out myself, but he still got his own pad at the dinner table.
- Provide guidance: What makes something a good goal? What is going to make them really proud at the end of the year? If the goal is to “read better” or “memorize math facts” then what does it take to do that? Be specific and measurable with their goals.
- Set goals with them: My husband set a goal of spending 2 hours individually every week with each kid, and they could plan how to use that time. They were thrilled, and they’ll be sure to hold him to that one, which gives him the freedom to do the same with their goals. My daughter is always interested in going for morning runs with me, so we set a goal that she could come twice a week. That holds both of us accountable and gives us time together.
- Keep them visible: As with any goal, if you don’t keep it top of mind, it won’t get met. Print them out, put them on posterboard, discuss them at dinner every weekend. Anything to keep it front and center for your kids and yourself.
- And finally, have fun and add in some rewards. One of my daughter’s goals is around baking every week. She really wants a stand mixer like she’s seen on Nailed It. I told her that if she met her goal and showed me she really did love baking (by actually doing it for the next 9 months!) and she made Honor Roll this year, then we could get one.
I’m optimistic about the new school year, and I hope you are too. There’s no sense in dwelling on our worries. Really and truly—it doesn’t do any good but add stress to an already difficult time. We’re all in this together, right? So let’s root for our kids, ourselves, and our community. Let’s speak life into our little people and give them to confidence to go and do the damn thing.
If you’re looking for a good place to write your goals or journal about your progress, I’ll put in a plug for one that I published this past spring. It’s filled with lined pages and empowering quotes on every page.
You can follow along our family journeys over on Instagram.