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The Olympic Games have a way of making us all DREAM BIG. The excitement, energy, and emotion that comes with competing and representing your nation in front of a global audience is contagious.
Although the 2016 Olympic Games have come to a close, I am still hearing the buzz around the swim school. Swimmers of all ages are dreaming about making an Olympic team and winning Olympic medals one day.
As a parent, I understand the challenge of trying to support my children's dreams and simultaneously protect them from disappointment. I believe there are three steps to help our children identify, navigate, and realize these dreams successfully:
It is important to understand the difference between DREAMS and GOALS.
Dreams are the BIG THINGS that make you say, "Wouldn't it be amazing if this happened someday?"
Goals, on the other hand, are the STEPS of the staircase that leads to your dream.
Differentiating dreams from goals helps us communicate to our children that we acknowledge and support their dreams and are invested in helping them determine the realistic steps they must take to reach their dreams.
Help your child identify and write down their dream using words, doodles, drawings, pictures, etc.
Once their dream is established, assist them in determining the steps of the staircase, the goals. Remember, how we help our children set goals looks different from how we set goals for ourselves as adults.
To help your child set goals, first ask them to think of one thing they will need to do to reach their dream. This task must be SPECIFIC, CLEAR, and SIMPLE.
Second, ask your child to come up with an immediate short-term goal. This goal should only span a matter of hours or a number of days.
Third, help your child construct a short-term goal they can accomplish in a week. Short-term goals make dreams much more manageable.
You would be amazed by how many athletes, just a few years away from the Olympic Games, would say CONFIDENCE when I would ask them, "What is the one thing you have to have in order to make the Olympic team?"
Helping our children set SPECIFIC, CLEAR, and SIMPLE goals helps them build a habit of success. Success, in turn, builds the confidence muscle. Accomplishing a goal is a successful activity that builds confidence.
When your child accomplishes a goal, make sure to CELEBRATE! This is the final step of the process (and possibly the most important) as it helps the feeling of success stick with your child, setting them up for a lifetime of reaching their dreams.
Yours in Swimming,