Encouraging our children to talk and be aware of their dreams is such an important part of parenting. Our child’s dreams will become their future. Just like us, their dreams and goals become their internal compass. They help shape their lives, the choices they make, the successes they achieve. Dreams and goals give my kids’ lives purpose and meaning, they give my children a direction to move toward in the future and also give them a sense of control over their own life. What’s exciting is that each of my children’s dreams and goals are uniquely their own.
Research indicates that’s it’s hugely important to encourage your kids to start thinking early about their goals. You can’t really start too early! I teach my young kids responsibility by helping them set and strive for their own personal goals.
Exploring what goals are
I start with a simple conversation about their dreams. What are the things they want for themselves, our family, our community and ultimately our world? My children become more aware of their dreams through these discussions. I encourage them to talk about people that inspire them; this could be family, friends or even famous people. I ask them what inspires them and have a good conversation around that. Sometimes, it just starts with a simple question: what do you want to be when you grow up? Here’s what happened when I asked some kids in my life that very question:
There are many different ways you can inspire your child to dream, it may be by reading books, exploring different hobbies, journalling, watching inspiring movies, taking a trip to a museum or gallery. Even frequenting the local park can inspire a kid – just remind them to look up, to listen, to explore and to feel.
I’ve always been big on helping people strive for the life they desire – especially my kids. Teaching them to turn their dreams into goals is the essential bit though. And this doesn’t have to be “a big thing” it’s just simply teaching and encouraging them lightly.
Setting small goals
Teaching kids about goal setting can start with small things like:
- Being more tidy – cleaning their room every morning
- Being more organised – laying their clothes out the night before
- Getting ready for the school cross country – walking with Mum every morning
- Getting homework done promptly – setting aside time every night to stay up to date
- Saving for something they want – My kids earn pocket money, I give them chores which they need to do every day without me reminding them. This is a great way for them to save for something they really like.
We know as adults that our external and internal dialogue can prevent us from achieving our goal. This is definitely the same for our children, so be mindful of the way you speak about yourself and your own dreams in front of your kids.
One thing we do in our home is try our best not to use negative words like can’t, never, won’t, should and maybe. We actually give each other reminders. For instance, if I say “we can’t afford it” my husband or kids will say “yet”. A simple addition of one word, but it gives you hope and makes you feel like you can and will achieve it in the future.
Keeping kids’ dreams alive
Like adults when kids don’t have a plan for their dreams, a little light inside of them can go out because they don’t get the chance to actualise their dreams (even at a young age). The importance of dreams needs to be of high priority for us as a community. Sometimes dreams can be unknowingly extinguished because adults see them as “unrealistic”. It may be the “don’t get your hopes up” that turns a hopeful kid into a kid who says “I can’t”. If we don’t encourage their dreams, can we be surprised by the choices they make?
How do you encourage your kids’ dreams?
More about motivating children:
- 21 Secrets to Raising Children Who Dream Big
- 4 Secrets to Letting Your Kids Be Who They Are
- 6 Easy Ways to Boost Your Child’s Imagination