The year is coming to a close and while I am sure that you and your child have seen some remarkable development over the last 12 months, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make 2022 the most incredible year yet. To be clear, setting goals for your children at preschool age should not be solely based on academic achievement or learning, it’s about building the skills to make them a well-rounded personality that is ready to take on ‘big school’.
Children are extremely perceptive and when you set too many academic goals, it can lead to them feeling pressured, stressed and anxious. It’s important to set goals that are very achievable, appropriately reward and give positive reinforcement to counterbalance and keep them motivated.
It’s not always even super important to let your child know about the goals you have set, you can keep them private and just monitor how they develop as the year goals go on. Let’s look at the low-pressure goals you can set for 2022, and the areas you should be looking to cover in order to support healthy development for your child.
Low-Pressure Goals for Children
1). Interact and get along socially with peers.
This is an example of a goal that you don’t need to share with your child, but also one that they will need a large amount of support from you as a parent. Closely monitor and feedback to your preschool professional on how they are doing socially and make sure to befriend a few parents from their classes. Allowing your child that time to interact with their peers outside of the classroom will support their social development and put them in the best possible place ahead of the move to primary education.
2). Develop strong, good self-concepts, which will hold well into elementary school years.
Self-awareness and acceptance of ourselves are very important milestones that all successful people have to cross. Help your child discover the unique aspects of their personality and support their choices from the beginning and you will reap the rewards later in life. This is a goal that should be privately set by you and monitored as the year goes on. Push yourself to help your child get to know themselves through new experiences with love and care.
3). Be excited for school and new friends.
Preschool is ultimately a build-up for the move to ‘big school’ and therefore it’s really important to give your child a good understanding of that transition. Try to build up excitement for meeting new people and having new experiences. It will build their confidence ahead of moving to the next stage of their education.
4). Develop self-control.
Self-control is something that some people never master, so it’s key to start building that from a young age. You can do this in a low-pressure way by rewarding the deferral of self-gratification and impulsive behaviors. It’s healthy for your child to involve them in the process of planning things like vacations, days out, birthdays and gifting because it shows that it’s much more rewarding to act with thought than on a whim.
5). Become aware of others’ feelings.
Human emotion is something that is covered heavily in the preschool program. However, it’s something that’s very simple for a parent to encourage in your child. Simply make them aware by asking them to describe how they are feeling on a regular basis and also by pointing out how other people are feeling. If one of their friends is visibly sad, you can encourage your child to comfort them. This gives them a proper understanding of how to read emotions and how to respond socially in a healthy way.
6). Cope with stressful situations.
The world is full of stressful situations and being able to handle them in a calm and healthy way is of paramount importance to a successful person. You can encourage your child to do this through positive reinforcement and rewarding them if they come through a stressful situation in a positive way. Children are stressed out by all different things, whether it be traveling, activities or conflict, but it’s important to help them to channel that stress in a positive way, or they will find adult life more difficult.
7). Develop physical skills.
Physical skills are a natural part of growing and a very low-pressure goal for a preschool child. Encourage your child to exercise and play physically as much as possible from an early age and those motor skills will soar. It also allows your child to develop mentally, allowing them to find the kinds of physical activities that they enjoy.
8). Have a sense of satisfaction with their individualism and feelings of self-respect.
The modern world has changed and society is ever more accepting of people’s individuality. It’s important to instill self-love in your child so they can be proud of who they are and all of their characteristics, personalities and hobbies. You can help this immeasurable by supporting them in their choices. Challenging a child’s choices can lead to them feeling like they disappoint you, and that can breed resentment as they grow into an adult.
9). Develop appropriate language, pre-reading, pre-math and simple science skills
Setting low-pressure and achievable educational goals can be very beneficial and also fun for you and your child. Incentivize them with a reward for completing a set of tasks for the week or month to give learning an element of fun and to instill the idea that hard work brings great rewards, a lesson that will serve any child well as they grow.
10). Stimulate curiosity in learning through discovery, exploration and play
Challenge yourself and your child to find at least a couple of new activities that are both fun and educational. Perhaps you can look at animals, or visit a planetarium. Finding fun in education through discovery, exploration and play is the most effective way for your child to learn and can give them a solid foundation to build on as they grow. They might just find a lifelong passion to build into an adult career.