I never learned to blow bubble gum and pop it. My granddaughter told me it’s never too late and kindly broke bubble blowing into steps: 1.) Chew gum until soft. 2.) Flatten on roof of mouth. 3.) Stretch and flatten behind front teeth. 4.) Blow between teeth. 5.) Let pop. Just the thought of it makes me smile.
So much has been serious and constraining the last year with continued worries about the pandemic. We need some whimsy in our lives, and setting fun goals like these can become an adventurous family activity.
If your child wishes she could hop on one foot, say, “Why don’t we make that your special goal this week?” Let’s draw a picture of hopping. What are the steps? 1.) Try standing in place and balancing on one foot. 2.) Put your hands out for balance. 3.) Hop! Document your child’s progress in happy ways. Write down how many times she tries in one day. Take a photo of her standing on one foot. Laugh about it. Take a video of her attempts to hop and shout “Hurrah!”
Try setting simple goals for the whole family. Learn a song by practicing one line a night, or read a long book together by tackling a chapter a week. Plan a family three-mile walk, but start by ambling several blocks and work up your final goal. Put together a huge puzzle. Paint a mural.
Think of things you still want to learn, and do them with your child: French braiding, baton twirling, tap dancing, pogo stick hopping. Brainstorming about new goals to set, each with accomplishable steps, helps us remember that our current challenges are temporary, and life is full of broad and exciting possibilities at any age.