Planning and Goal Setting for 2016 with your Children

new year 4

The New Year brings new beginnings! It’s an exciting blank page in the next enthralling chapter of your child’s life.  A book in which you have the wonderful opportunity of enhancing with so many fresh and different lessons and experiences.  So what will you do in 2016 to help make it a fulfilling and potential reaching one for child? How will you help them become the best version of themselves that they can become at this time in their lives?  These are questions you can ask yourself and focus on as you move into and throughout 2016. A great place to begin is with teaching your child about goal setting and planning, so here are a few ideas on how you could do this.

Buy your child a planner or calendar

Any child from about the age of four can be taught the basics of planning. The best way to do this is with a calendar/planner or a one page to a month diary.  There are so many lessons they can learn from this and these are just a few:

Firstly, they are learning about organisation. They can mark important events such as sports day, library day, piano lessons, etc into their diary/calendar so that the night before each event they can prepare everything they will need the next day.  This not only gives them some independence but helps to develop their confidence and autonomy. It also teaches them the lifelong skill of planning and being organised, which they will need in all aspects of their lives.

Secondly, they are learning the names and order of the days and months of the year.  This is a huge lesson in itself and makes the experience so visual and real that it is far easier to understand than being taught verbally in an intangible lesson. 

Thirdly, they are learning about the order of events.  The calendar/diary gives them a visual cue in which they can look and see what is coming up and when.  This not only helps them with putting events in order but also develops their understanding of timing and time.  It is the prequel to learning about time in accordance to hours and minutes.

Fourthly, but no less importantly is the development of security and peace of mind that the knowledge of timing and order of events brings.  If children know what is coming up and when, they feel far more secure and confident than if they have no idea what is going to happen on the day or days ahead.

It is for all these reasons and many more incidental or consequential teachings that it is a great idea to introduce and encourage your child to use a diary/calendar in 2015.

Help them set goals

Goal setting is really important for all of us but we tend not to realise how essential it is for children too.  Goal setting gives us purpose, direction and something to aim for –  and tantamount to that it gives us hope. 

Ask the children in your life what it is they would like to do in the coming year. Is there something they would like to learn or develop their skills at? Is there a place they would like to visit or something they would they like to save for? Well help them do it! Start from the goal and turn it upside down so that you are taking baby steps backwards. Get them to use their planner to map out how and when each step will take place.  Again this gives them visual cues with the added bonus of seeing when each step will take place, as well as the time frame for reaching their destination/goal.

For example, if your child wants to learn how to ride his/her bike without trainer wheels. Help them workout which days they are free to practice and then get them to write or draw a picture representing the event e.g. a bike on each of the days. On the first day you could write practice peddling forwards, then the next few could be practice steering, learning to use the brakes, and so on until these skills are mastered. When the trainer wheels are ready to come off there will be lots more skills to learn in order to balance and these can be broken down into steps accordingly.

Remember, half the fun of being a child is living spontaneously so I definitely do not suggest planning every minute of their lives, just a few essential moments of their week – make it light hearted and fun! Keep working on planning and goal setting with the special children in your life throughout the year to help them develop skills that will last them a lifetime and will benefit them more than you could possibly imagine!

Happy guiding and a magical heart filled 2016,


Darling Precious Children

Listening – REALLY Listening!

Listen Carefully


Listening to your children – it sounds simple really doesn’t it? But with the mountain of chores, work and running around, etc that we have to do on a daily basis, taking time to listen to our children doesn’t always take top priority. There are also many times that we appear to be listening, when really we are thinking about what we are going to cook for dinner or other things that stop us from completely focussing. Listening, really listening, means putting the phone away, turning the tv off and fully concentrating on what your child is saying. I’m blessed to be surrounded by children each day, both in my work and at home and I completely understand why we don’t always do this as well as we could – because I’m guilty of it sometimes too. But somehow in our hectic schedules we need to put this at the top of the list and here are some of the reasons why:

  • Because children need to feel like someone cares. If we don’t listen to them then they think that we are not interested in them or in what they have to say. This is so detrimental to their self esteem. They need to know that they are the most important thing in our world. Chores can wait.
  • It helps them to solve problems. If they have an issue that is worrying them or a dilemma that they don’t know what to do about, you are able to help them work it out. This is also a great opportunity to teach them skills for problem solving on their own.
  • It’s a perfect time to build bonds between you and them. Being approachable and listening effectively, helps you become closer because you are more comfortable about sharing news and spending time together.
  • It helps you to learn more about your children. You have opened the communication channels and they are sharing things with you because of it. In turn you are learning so much more about them than if you had kept the communication channels closed. How wonderful!
  • It teaches them communication skills. They are learning how to have a conversation and the important talking and listening skills that are imperative in life.
  • They are able to come to you with problems because they know that you will listen. This is so very important because they definitely will not come to you with big issues if you haven’t listened to the small ones. All issues are important to children.


  • In turn, the previous point helps to decrease the chances of developing anxiety and depression. As they say: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved!’ If children know that they can come to you and share absolutely anything, then they are more likely to work through their concerns with you. This is so important because some concerns can manifest into huge problems if they are not dealt with.


  • And most importantly – it is a precious time for you and them.


Listening – Really listening – is actually a skill that people have to work on. It requires your full concentration and attention. In addition to all the benefits to children from your effective listening are the benefits to the adults! I love sitting down with children and having a wonderful conversation about whatever is on their mind at the time. It not only helps me to understand them better but reminds me of what it is to be a child. I love their enthusiasm and passion for life. You can’t help but become a better adult by listening to children as they have so much to teach us!


Happy Guiding and Listening


Darling Precious Children

Reading For Life!

reading for lifeReading is without a doubt the most important academic skill you will ever learn. Why? Because – If the only thing you ever learnt at school was to read then that would be enough to self-educate yourself for the rest of your entire life! It’s not that learning maths, science, sport etc is not valuable or essential but they are not as imperative as learning how to read.  If you know how to read you can teach yourself how to do absolutely anything you want to just by using the internet, or reading books, magazines, journals e books etc.  No other academic skill can do that! Studies have shown that children who are read to each night and who have parents who read often, are more likely to enjoy reading themselves and to view books as an essential and valuable part of their life!

reading for life 2

Reading is really important for many reasons but here are just a few:

  • It increases and improves our vocabulary, grammar, spelling and other fundamental language skills.

  • Our writing is enhanced by the increase in all the above skills and by the development of our imagination.

  • We are given the ultimate skill for learning whatever it is that we want to learn – for the rest of our life.

  • It is a wonderful way to develop our creativity, imagination and expression.

  • Empathy and other vital social and emotional skills are enhanced by the reader’s identification with the many varied and colourful characters that they interact with each day through stories.

  • It is pure entertainment and escapism as the reader becomes part of the story and the rest of the world fades into the background.

  • It builds bonds and creates important moments and memories. When a child is read to each night before bed, it becomes a special time for the parent and child to share.

  • It is an opportunity to learn about other people – their cultures, likes, dislikes, families, homes, food, way of life, how they deal with issues, etc.

  • Many worlds are opened up to the reader as they learn about so many different topics from –  places they may like to visit, to weird and wonderful inventions, to an infinite amount of possibilities that the mind could only imagine.

  • Children who are not encouraged to read and who do not develop an interest in books are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to learning because they don’t have the skills necessary for school life or life beyond school.  And there really is no excuse!

Text comes in all shapes and sizes and on all different topics so it would be impossible not to be able to find something to read that interests you or your child. It doesn’t have to be a novel, it could be magazines, comics, short stories, picture books, newspapers, journals, internet stories, articles etc. If you want your child to have great start in life – teach them to love books and teach them to read.  So this Book Week get out to the local libraries and book stores to find out what amazing books are out there –  and get reading!

Happy Guiding and Happy Reading,


Darling Precious Childrenread books