Should children make New Year’s resolutions? It certainly sounds positive, doesn’t it?
Yet with a success rate of only 20% in adults to keep their resolutions, young people who are still learning about practicing positive habits would likely come in at an even lower percentage.
This doesn’t mean throw in the towel—BusyKid is all about financial accomplishments, learning responsibilities, and setting healthy habits.
So let us veer away from the word “resolution” and talk about goal-setting for 2021. We have some tips that will help you guide your children toward success.
Visualize the Outcome
You may be familiar with the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment of 1974 on delayed gratification. Children were offered a marshmallow right away if they wanted, or they could wait for a period of time and get multiple marshmallows. The longitudinal correlation was intriguing. Those who could wait for the larger reward turned out to do better in several areas later in life like S.A.T. scores, career success, and more optimal body mass indexes.
Deciding to put more in a BusyKid Savings account on a consistent basis in order to achieve a big purchase is the exact same concept. The problem, however, is a little thing called temporal discounting—which is the psychological phenomenon that makes pleasure in the distant future seem less relevant than pleasure in the present. Having your kids visualize the different outcomes that could happen based on the small steady tasks they need to do every week will help.
- Have they already experienced a meaningful milestone? Ask them to recall how that felt.
- Project into the future. Ask your child what it will be like to finally get that hoverboard they’ve been eyeing.
- Engage their senses. Can they imagine the feel of whipping down the street, laughing with their friends?
- Mention the opposing outcome. What will it be like if they don’t ever save enough to get the hoverboard?
- Remind them to keep that happy outcome at the front of their mind when making the weekly decision to put money into BusyKid Savings.
In a celebratory fashion, measure the progress toward your children’s chosen financial goal. This is an area where it isn’t necessary to draw attention to fruitless weeks, but really praise the weeks where you observe solid momentum toward their vision.
The BusyKid Savings Match feature is a perfect way to reinforce a child’s commitment to achieving their goals. Plus, it gives kids a realistic preview of what many savings accounts at banking institutions or IRAs with employers offer—a percentage match to boost earnings. “Savings Match” is just as the name states—an opportunity to match a percentage of the money saved by a child each week. You can learn more about this and other BusyKid features on our FAQ page.
Kids who are empowered through the BusyKid app absolutely love checking in on their accounts to see how much money they have in each section. It’s a good idea to set mini rewards along the way to completion of their goal. Whether you decide to send a bonus at a predetermined landmark, give them a treat for a week with extra chore completion, or have a monthly “choose your favorite dinner” party when they’re doing well. Whatever makes them feel special will keep their strengths shining and ensure they remain steadfast on the plan.
A major reason why resolutions tend to fail is because they’re often too broad. Think of sweeping statements you’ve perhaps made in the past.
- Lose weight
- Spend less
- Work out more
- Participate in self care
The same is true for our kids. Children are especially prone to thinking on a surface level. If you notice your kids setting goals like make more friends, do better at school, help more at home…start a conversation to talk about the specific actions needed. How are they going to make more friends? What chore would they like to add on what day to help more at home? What additional time or help from you do they need to get a B in math?
Stay away from outlandish goals, and from having too many goals. It’s part of the day dreamy nature of kids to imagine many wants and reach for the stars. Yet reaching for the stars doesn’t equal actual motivation. A large list of will feel unmanageable for children to work on.
If you deem a goal too grand (like a child deciding they want to save on BusyKid until they can get to Disney World), it will be up to you as a family to discern if it can work as a healthy goal or not. Perhaps that’s a trip you’ve wanted to take as well and can work toward that goal together. Or maybe you’re okay with taking a trip but their savings will have to go only to a specific activity or portion of the outing.
For effective goal-setting, the goal simply must be attainable. Motivation cannot prevail if a chosen financial mark is too challenging.
We hope these tips set the whole family on the path of BusyKid app success. Using the app to delay gratification and experience the joy of achieving one big goal has benefits that are scientifically proven to last a lifetime.
All of us at BusyKid wish you a happy and prosperous year! May you, and your children, achieve the outcomes you desire.