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Teach your children good planning skills

By Dickson Tumuramye

OPINION | Now that our children are back home for holidays, it is time to have a very nice time with them. Nurturing children these days is taking a new shape compared to those all days. Before, it took a whole village to raise a child. But now, you have to completely take a primary responsibility to do it yourself. The parenting atmosphere is unfolding in a dynamic manner that we must engage children in things that bring out their full potential and help them become responsible adults in life.

Unless, you are surrendering them to social media and television to play your role.

It begins with the parents shaping the child’s destiny as they walk this journey together. Gone are the days when a parent would dictate everything a child has to do. Like this holiday, you don’t have to dictate on what activities they have to do. Our children are stakeholders in every matter that concerns their welfare today and future wellbeing.

The best way to have them realize their full value in their home is to plan with them. As the holiday has started, ask them what they plan to do, how they intend to achieve their holiday planned activities including their holiday package/revision, coaching, the resources needed and how they will mobilize them.

Ask them some questions to do with what they will do if their plans fail. Discuss what is their way forward if they are successful with certain projects and others don’t seem to be working out well. The ones who are old enough should start laying down their five year strategic plans. Ask them where they see themselves in the next five years. Whether they are employed or not, even the ones in S.6 vacation, they should by now have a glimpse of where they want to be.

This will help them avoid living a life of speculations. As they plan, they will be able to attach a budget and/or financial plan and a framework and you will be at least sure that they will limit wasting time in none essential things. As a parent, you can also plan within your child/ren’s plans to see where, when and how to come on board. I know you too already have a plan for them this holiday. That cannot stop you from incorporating both plans to come up with the best way forward together.

You may be inspired to walk this journey with your child throughout the entire strategic plan he/she has. Some may have good business ideas that if you partnered together, a lot can be achieved. You can help this enthusiastic young man/woman to register a company and before you know it, she will be an employer of others and a great pillar in your life.

Some of these plans could open your eyes to send your child to a specialized training in the area of interest.  This can be done even along the professional/academic training. There are people who are over ambitious in life and sometimes they do less because they lose focus along the way. Due to lack of a plan or a budget, whatever comes around, they will want to try it. But with a good plan, you remain focused on your priorities.

When you are able to teach your child to plan strategically and with SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound), you will be sure that chances of being successful are higher than one without a plan.

Remember a plan and budget are like a campus/GPS a pilot can use for navigation. They guide your footsteps so that you don’t meander when you get any money. Did you know that there are people who almost run mad when they get money they didn’t anticipate?  And before they know it or plan to use it profitability, it is already gone? Do you want your child to be like that?

That’s the reason a strategic plan becomes important. It also helps to maximize the use of your finances and prioritise activities/needs that are very essential at a particular time. This eventually will help them develop planning skills.

Teach your child to learn how to plan now and all of you will enjoy the works of your hands tomorrow.

The writer is a child advocate and counselor based in Kampala, Uganda.

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