I remember congratulating my husband on our son’s first birthday. We did it! We survived a year, and so did this baby! Woo-hoo! Parenting goals when kids are little are so simple: Keep them fed, clean, and comforted, and work on sensory stuff. (“Sensory stuff” is the technical term for all the things babies and toddlers are soaking up.)
Fast forward way into the future and the parenting goals aren’t as simple, but they’re definitely clear: Help your child navigate high school and make a plan for afterward. But what about these in-between years? What parenting goals should moms of elementary kids set for themselves? Whether your kids are in kindergarten or about to cross the threshold into middle school, these 5 goals are great targets to aim for.
1. Discover your child’s personality type.
If your kids are like mine, they are very different from one another and require different parenting. One is more extroverted while the other is content to stay home and read. One always wants to make a plan while the other goes with the flow. Becoming a student of your children and discovering their personality types will help you understand why they do what they do.
There are a ton of personality typing systems to choose from, but it can be dangerous to mistype someone. So whatever you choose, don’t treat it as gospel. Just use it to observe and tweak the way you approach each individual child.
2. Create a family mission statement
This is one of the parenting goals that has the power to change the trajectory of your child’s life. Sit down together as a family and discuss your values and what you want to be known for. Do you want to be a family that serves those in need, speaks kindly about others, loves God, or helps protect the environment? Include it in your mission statement.
Write it down and post it in various places around the house. You could even frame it and put it on the mantel. Here’s a cute printable Family Mission Statement that uses the letters of your last name. A friend of mine is so serious about her family’s mission statement that they all have it memorized and she refers back to it when the kids have any kind of issue. Does this behavior reflect our family’s mission? No? Then we don’t do it.
3. Have a go-to method to calm yourself down.
Maybe you’re never tempted to fly off the handle. Tell me your secret because my kids know just how to push my buttons and I lose it. I’ve seen their faces when I get really angry and I see fear. A little bit is OK; I want them to know I mean business, but I don’t want my kids to be afraid of me, so I’m working on a calm-down method.
Usually, I just walk out of the room, but if that’s not an option, I have to close my eyes and take some deep breaths. When they see that, they know it’s time to knock it off. Discovering an effective way to calm yourself down is a great goal that will help keep your relationship with your kids open now and into their teen years.
4. Spend as much time on EQ as IQ.
We all spend hours with our kids helping them with multiplication tables, science projects, and spelling words, but how much time do we invest in growing their EQ or their emotional intelligence? Having EQ will help your child manage his or her own emotions in positive ways.
I seldomly use fourth-grade math at work or at home, but I use emotional intelligence every single day. There are a ton of great resources on growing your child’s EQ. One simple way to start is with a feelings wheel. Our feelings wheel is super cute and free to print. Just helping your child put his or her feelings into words is a big step in the right direction.
5. Adopt a growth mindset vocabulary.
In elementary school, kids will get their first taste of challenging coursework and some will have to overcome learning difficulties. Mom, if you start changing up a few words in your vocabulary as you coach your kids, you’ll hear “I can’t” less often, which will help your kids as they work through difficult tasks.
To move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, a few simple words or phrases you can start encouraging are “yet” (as in “You can’t write in cursive yet!”), “I won’t give up until I’m proud of what I’ve done,” and “I can do hard things.”
What are some other parenting goals moms of elementary kids should shoot for?