Does your family like to make new year's resolutions? Beginning a new year can be a great time for all of us to revisit our commitments and goals, especially for children with learning and behavioral issues like those associated with ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, and learning disorders. Here are three tips to help kids get focused and involved in their own success:
Put It In Writing
Putting new year's resolutions in writing and hanging them in a prominent place, like the refrigerator or family organization board, can help remind you and your child to stay focused on his or her goals. Have school-aged children write a short sentence describing their goal, and get the whole family involved in supporting their effort and progress.
Keep It Simple
For some children with special needs, new year's resolutions may include improving reading skills or a specific grade on their report card, while for others, goals may focus on physical accomplishments like riding a bike or playing a team sport. Whatever the goal, avoid making it too specific. If your child wants to become a better reader, make that the initial goal. For example, have your child write "I resolve to improve my reading skills" instead of "I resolve to read five books per week." Once your child has set a goal, discuss concrete ways to make it happen. After the child has seen some progress and gained confidence, it may be time to set more specific goals, but keep it simple in the beginning so your child doesn't feel overwhelmed or disappointed.
Provide Constant Support
Praise your child's effort. As we all know, sometimes despite admirable effort we can fall short of our goals. Teach your children to re-set a goal and keep going. Invite them to discuss what they've learned through the process. Reward and acknowledge their effort with a favorite family activity or outing, and let them know you support them no matter what. Children with extra needs and learning differences often experience self-esteem issues and can benefit from constant support, and this is a great time to let children know you will help them accomplish their goals. Helping our children identify and accomplish new year's resolutions can be a rewarding opportunity to teach life skills to your whole family.
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