As you get the kids ready to go back to school, don’t just stock up on school supplies and new clothes — sit down as a family and set some goals! This time of year is the perfect time to set family goals and get a plan together to reach them. Doing so not only helps with bonding, but it can also teach your kids teamwork, personal finance and communication skills. Check out these family goals to set (plus one from us — can you guess which one?!), from from Gregg Murset, certified financial planner and the CEO of BusyKid — the first online chore chart where children can earn, save, share, spend and invest real money wisely.
1. Save Money for a Shared Trip or Special Activity
If your children want to take a vacation, say to Disneyland, invite them to have a conversation about how the family can work together to accomplish that goal. Talk about ways you can all save extra money to afford the trip — which helps develop financial literacy early in life. You can also do this for any expense that all members of the family desire, not just a trip. Maybe a basketball hoop, video game console, or new TV would be appropriate for your family.
2. Plan a Service Project You Can Do Together
Teach your children the importance of service by choosing a service project to do together. Lifelong happiness can be found in charitable acts, so involving your children at a young age to prioritize service is a very important lesson. If you have a friend or neighbor in need of lawn work, perhaps your family could dedicate a Saturday to helping them out. You could also use this link to find local service projects near you in need of volunteers.
3. Set a Goal to Eat (and Even Cook!) Dinner Together
Busy schedules may interfere with family dinners, but setting a goal together to prioritize that special time together would be a worthwhile endeavor. Knowing about the details of each other’s daily lives will strengthen your relationships, so striving to have that time together, at least a few times a week, is a great goal to set together. And if you can make the time to even cook together (maybe on a weekend when you have more time), even better!
4. Train for a Race
Your kids may not be old enough to run a longer race like a 10K or half marathon, but doing something like training for a 1-mile race or a 5K is doable for most. Taking the time to plan out your training not only guarantees plenty of family time, it builds fitness for you all. And the “race” at the end can truly be a celebration of your family’s efforts!
5. Spend Less Time on Screens
Most families would agree that screens often replace quality time or activities, so set goals together to participate in activities that will force you to put the screens down. This could include going for an evening walk together, playing a card game together or reading a book together. You can even have your children list activities they like and make a “Screen-Free Activity Jar” from which you could draw a random activity.
6. Evaluate Your Family’s Chores and Allowances
Having regular discussions about family responsibilities can help maintain positive attitudes about chores and help children maintain perspective. Attaching specific, agreed-upon rewards for various chores can help children learn the importance of working hard and earning money. Set time aside to ask your kids for input about their jobs, and make reasonable adjustments if necessary.
7. Plan for the Holidays
The holidays tend to sneak up on us and catch us — and our bank accounts — off guard. With the help of your children, make a plan in advance for holiday activities they would like to do, and save for them ahead of time to avoid unnecessary debt. Perhaps your children want to go skiing or snowboarding, or host a Christmas party with friends. Maybe you could do a gift exchange among siblings or plan to make gifts for each other rather than have everyone buy gifts for everyone else. Teach your kids the importance of money management and saving — and not to splurge during the holidays.
What family goal will you set first? —Gregg Murset